Monday, February 21, 2011

What might happen if federal government shuts down again

What might happen if federal government shuts down again

Budget disagreements between Bill Clinton and Republicans prompted these incidents in 1995 and 1996, as federal agencies halted operations and stopped paying workers.

For more than 20 days, about 260,000 federal employees in the D.C. area stayed home, or reported for duty only to be sent packing hours later. Security guards roamed the halls forcing out workers who lingered, and some frustrated feds sought temporary jobs as bike messengers and servers at restaurants to pay holiday bills, according to Post reports from the time.

Agencies retroactively paid workers once the doors reopened, but many government contractors - paid separately by private employers - earned nothing during the shutdown. And congressional Democrats proposed last week that Obama and lawmakers also should not be paid during a shutdown.

Obama and congressional leaders must strike a deal by March 4 to keep the government running. Failure to pass a bill could cause an immediate stop to a wide range of federal services.

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