Tuesday, Mar. 23, 2010

Bill Clinton vs. Newt Gingrich, 1995

As the clocks struck midnight on Nov. 14, 1995, so began the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history. For 21 days — from Nov. 14-19 and again from Dec. 16, 1995-Jan. 6, 1996 — nonessential government employees stayed home while their leaders fought to pass a federal budget. The shutdown was sparked when an agreement between President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress (led by then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich) could not be reached by Sept. 30, the expiration date of the previous year's budget. In the end, the shutdown, which cost the government $800 million in losses for salaries paid to furloughed employees, was settled when Clinton submitted a budget that proposed to eliminate the federal deficit in seven years.