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Right-wing "cannot wait" for gov't shutdown, "just like in '95 and '96"

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The right-wing media is "giddy" over the possibility of winning a Republican majority in Congress in order to shut down the government. The shutdowns cost the government at least $800 million, furloughed over a million workers, delayed veterans benefits, shut down federally funded research, and suspended certain law enforcement activities, among other things.

The 1995-1996 gov't shutdowns had massive impact on public and cost the government at least $800 million

Federal government shutdowns occur when Congress cannot agree to pass a federal budget. According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, Federal government shutdowns occur for the following reasons:

Shutdowns of the federal government have occurred in the past due to failures to pass regular appropriations bills by the October 1 deadline; lack of an agreement on stopgap funding for federal government operations through a continuing resolution; and other impasses, for example, in 1995, the lack of an agreement on lifting the federal debt ceiling.

Then-speaker Gingrich was criticized for orchestrating two government shutdowns in FY 1996, which cost the government at least $800 million. Between November 1995 and January 1996, two federal government shutdowns occurred. As Time reported:

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.

Delay: Gingrich "told a room full of reporters that he forced the shutdown because Clinton had rudely made him...sit at the back of Air Force One." In his book No Retreat, No Surrender: One American's Fight, Tom Delay, who was the Republican House Whip at the time of the shutdown, wrote:

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Negotiations spiraled downward, and after Clinton vetoed a stopgap spending bill, funding for government services ran out, and a shutdown began on November 13, 1995. Not long after, Gingrich made the mistake of his life. He told a room full of reporters that he forced the shutdown because Clinton had rudely made him and Bob Dole sit at the back of Air Force One and exit from the rear on a flight to the funeral of assassinated Israeli prime minister [sic] Yitzak Rabin. It was pitiful. The New York Daily News carried the headline "Cry Baby" above a drawing of Newt as a screaming baby in diapers. The Democrats even tried to take a blowup of the cover onto the floor of the House.

The Hill also reported that Gingrich orchestrated the shutdown after President Bill Clinton made him and Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) sit at the back of Air Force One on a trip:

Gingrich received heavy criticism for helping to engineer the shutdown after it was reported he said that it was partially a result of Clinton's making former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and him sit at the back of Air Force One.

Over 1 million federal employees were furloughed. According to the CRS report, over 1 million federal employees were furloughed as a result of the 1995-1996 government shutdown:

The most recent shutdowns occurred in FY1996. There were two during the early part of the fiscal year. The first, November 14-19, 1995, resulted in the furlough of an estimated 800,000 federal employees. It was caused by the expiration of a continuing funding resolution (P.L. 104-31) agreed to on September 30, 1995, and by President Clinton's veto of a second continuing resolution and a debt limit extension bill.

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The second FY1996 partial shutdown of the federal government, and the longest in history, began on December 16, 1995, and ended on January 6, 1996, after the White House and Congress agreed on a new resolution (P.L. 104-94) to fund the government through January 26, 1996. On January 2, 1996, the estimate of furloughed federal employees was 284,000.8 Another 475,000 federal employees, rated "essential," continued to work in a non-pay status. The shutdown was triggered by the expiration of a continuing funding resolution enacted on November 20 (P.L. 104-56), which funded the government through December 15, 1995. There were several short-term continuing resolutions between January 6, 1996, and April 26, 1996, when P.L. 104-134 was enacted to fund any agencies or programs not yet funded through FY1996.

Time: Shutdown "cost the government $800 million in losses for salaries paid to furloughed employees." Time reported that the "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."

American veterans received "major curtailment in services," including health services. The CRS reported that American veterans received "[m]ajor curtailment in services, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel."

Health research, toxic waste clean-up were shut down. The CRS reported that, according to "congressional hearings, press and agency accounts," new patients were not admitted to NIH:

New patients were not accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ceased disease surveillance (information about the spread of diseases, such as AIDS and flu, were unavailable); hotline calls to NIH concerning diseases were not answered; and toxic waste clean-up work at 609 sites stopped, resulting in 2,400 "Superfund" workers being sent home.

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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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