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US Government Shutdowns For a Second Time in 3 Weeks

Updated : August 4th, 2020

For a second time, Congress pushed hard to reach a deal for government funding past midnight but failed. This has lead the federal government to a shutdown in just three weeks since the previous one. Senate had originally reached a deal the previous day, it focused on lifting spending caps and raising military spending and the bill was stalled in the upper chamber for hours. Kentucky Republican Rand Paul held up a vote to protest the increase in the federal deficit. Republicans held him responsible for grandstanding and for wasting their time.

US Government Shutdowns For Second Time in 3 Weeks

While the hours crept by to pass a bill, the White House instructed the Federal government to prepare to halt or scale back several functions. The failure to pass a budget bill has now become common in Washington. Earlier, this year the government had shut down for three days as Democrats blocked the bill to try and force a compromise. The Republicans pushed the government to shutter back in 2013 to try and undo Obama’s healthcare law.

As the deadline rolled by, Mr. Paul delayed a vote with a lengthy floor speech railing against an excess spending by the government. He expressed that his colleagues were abandoning their commitment to reducing the deficit and about the relentless spending on a perpetual war. He felt that his Republican senators were not on the same page against deficits like when they were against Obama’s deficits and claimed that this was intellectual dishonesty. Also, he suggested that the country is worth a debate till three in the morning before he concluded.

In a similar fashion, the budget bill awaiting votes could not replace the lapsed immigration program that is otherwise known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA). This afforded nearly 800,000 young immigrants’ protection from deportation and work permits. Trump has tried to end this initiative and has begun the suspension to push for a larger immigration deal.

Democrats looked to have a DACA fix as Congress passed a series of short-term budget bills. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the floor and had a record eight-plus hour speech highlighting inaction. The Democrats forced a multi-day government shutdown this year by blocking the budget bill that simply left out immigration. The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan promised a resolution to pass a new Budget Bill that would sidestep the issue.

How Does a Government Shutdown Affect You?

You should know that the Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration did not exist prior to 1995 when there were long-term shutdowns. Based on the suggestions by the Office of Management and Budget, the federal agencies maintain a contingency plan for dealing with government shutdowns. Usually, public services are the main agencies that affect you. Here are some of the services that might take a hit:

    1. Income Tax: IRS would stop refunds and processing paper tax returns.
    2. Social Security: No new applications would be accepted or processed but benefit checks would still continue to come in the mail.
    3. Welfare: Checks would continue but new applications would not be processed.
    4. Border Patrol: This will function without a glitch.
    5. National Defense: All armed services would continue duty but not paid on time.
    6. Mail: Deliveries would continue as the US Postal Service funds itself.
    7. National Parks and Tourism: These would probably be closed and visitors would be told to leave. Nonvolunteers and fire control would be shut down. Park police will continue as usual. Make sure you cancel your plans to visit Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty during the shutdown.
    8. Transportation: Air traffic control, Coast Guard, and TSA security personnel will remain in their jobs.
    9. Science and Technology: Due to the shutdown, NASA would be closed and that would mean that 85% of staff are furloughed. SpaceX Falcon 9 would not be affected as the launch would take place in March. EPA’s 14,000 employees will continue working as they have sufficient resources. NOAA has a shutdown except for the department that monitors hurricanes and flight planning.
    10. USDA: Food safety inspections will continue but farm credit, loan programs, and rural development will close down.
    11. Justice System: Courts will remain open and so will police and other law enforcement personnel.

Causes of the Government Shutdown

The US Constitution allows for all expenditures of federal funds to be authorized by Congress with the approval of the US President. The federal government and the budget process work on a fiscal cycle from October 1 to September 30. If Congress does not fail to pass the spending bills comprising of the annual federal budget or resolutions, then it will be forced to extend spending beyond the fiscal year. If the President signs or vetoes any individual spending bills, this may force the Federal Government to cease due to lack of Congressionally authorized funding.

History of Past Shutdowns

There have been six government shutdowns since 1981. Four of the last six government shutdowns were not regarded but the federal employees were affected. In the last two, the people did feel the pinch.


In 1981, President Reagan vetoed a resolution and 400,000 federal employees were forced to go home and not return after lunch. After a few hours, President Reagan signed a new version and had the workers back the next morning. Again in 1984, with no approved budget there were 500,000 federal workers that were sent home. Then in 1990, there was no budget or resolution, the government shuts down during the three day Columbus Day weekend. Most workers were off and after President Bush signed the spending bill and everyone was back on Tuesday.

In 1995 and 1996, there were two government shutdowns that began in November and idled at different functions of the federal government and also at different points in time in April 1996. These shutdowns were due to a budget impasse between Democratic President Clinton and Republican-controlled Congress.

Then there was the 2013 government shutdown for 17 long days from October 1 to October 16. This saw the shutdown of more than 800,000 federal employees because of disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over spending. It was only on October 17 that Congress faced a debt limit crisis and increased public disgust.

Finally, the first shutdown of 2018 started on January 20. This was due to the bill failing to pass Senate’s 50 to 49 vote with the majority of Democrats voting ‘No’. Issues that arose out of the immigration and funding DACA were of the primary concern. Currently, the second funding gap began at midnight on February 9.

As long as you have already submitted your unemployment claims, you would not have to worry apart from a little delay before it gets processed. Also, if you are already receiving unemployment benefits then you will continue to receive your checks in the mail. In a few days, all services will be restored and you will be able to access all government departments.

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  1. I was approved for extended benefits after exhausting PUA and the 26 weeks UI in Ohio. I have been looking for work, but also have had major health challenges and am finding getting back to “normal” slow going. I have a EB approval letter, and am currently receiving payments. When I look at the EB payment stub it shows my payment amount, and then the remaining approved amount (diminished by the weekly payment). So… do I get to exhaust the balance stated (which would take the weekly payments into 2021), or do my extended benefit payments expire on Dec 26 with the Federal program?

  2. I’m considering moving from MA to another state to pursue available work. I CAN NOT get hold of a human or find any info online about the ramifications of transferring my residence. Is there any information available that I’m missing or anyone having gone through the process of moving while collecting unemployment?

  3. I accidentally filed my UI unemployment amount wrong. I wrote that I made 25k last year when it was more like 12k with the pandemic problems. The issue was that I included my student loans in my income amount. Now I’m concerned about it being audited and how to fix this. I know I will have to pay back an amount but this is a lot of stress. I cannot get ahold of anyone in a timely manner and so I am wondering if anyone has an idea as to how to fix this appropriately?

    1. Ashley,

      I suggest you check the “Resources” section of the official website of the Unemployment Office or consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if feasible.

  4. my benefit in missouri ru has exhausted they send me a letter about my peuc until dec 26 2020 how long it take to receive peuc

    1. Debra,

      The processing will certainly take a couple of weeks of time owing to the pendency. Please keep checking/following up at regular intervals.

  5. So I have been getting ue for 6 months and on Oct 21 I had a fact finding issue found and cleared after taking a month, I got put on hold I got nothing no benefits nothing because I am on hold until cleared up and it was another month later in my favor, I’ve been without payment since Oct 21 since then I have been on HOLD, I am beyond pissed, I call every Fri I see the letter I received saying its in my favor that says I am Monetary Eligible-yet I still have 6 payments on hold. I call DEO and I talk, I beg and I get told “we are working on it”, the letter is in my favor I am poor not rich I am poor Why how do you people get away with this

    1. I’m having similar issue.. I was accepted and was receiving payments for three months.. then it was stopped 5 weeks ago to check a possibility of fraud.. there was a determination to confirm my identity again.. this after the same office gives me insurance and food help and was taking partial of money to pay two different child support claims.. they don’t think I’m who I say I am.. and it just sits there pending.. what can be done to get this fixed.

  6. Hello

    I’m 59 years old and was laid off in March 2020 due to Covid.
    In June 2020 I was advised my job was eliminated and there is no chance of me
    Being brought back. I’m collecting UI since March.

    Pondering the thought of taking my early retirement pension as I can’t survive on
    UI any longer. My pension is of course reduced due to my age. Full pension is age 62.

    If I apply for early reduced pension in this situation, does my UI benefit get decreased? I’m in New York.
    I’m still looking for full time work. No luck.

    Thank you so much

  7. i was just layed off from my job, i did collect benefits in pa. my job is seasonal igot unemployment payments in jan. to april i had 26 weeks of unemployment , but only used about 13 weeks, and was called back to work. i received 2 weeks of 600 dollars of stimlus money. my question is now that i reopened my 2020 claim . i,m i still elegibe for any more stimlus payments along with my regular unemployment payments.

  8. I am 65 yrs old in California and being layed off in Dec 2020. If I apply for unemployment benefits and collect a company pension, will the pension reduce the unemployment benefits ? If you answer call unemployment what is the department or do you have a phone number for a help line. I have called and get automated questions that do not apply to my situation.
    Cannot get to a live person.

  9. Several years ago I was part of a reduction in force and was early-retired for pension purposes. I count on this small pension ($2K/mo) to supplement my employment which has been inconsistent this past two years. I am filing for UI in IL and I qualify for it, but they are saying my pension reduces my UI benefit to zero. Is that right?

    1. Mike,

      That is partially right. The pension will have an impact on UI benefits. Please check for relevant info on the Unemployment Office’s website.

  10. I have $219.00 left on my UE and still no work due to covid-19 will i be able to get a extension on my UE and will it cover the last two weeks. I request payment tomorrow.

      1. My benefits have expired, still.unemployed due to over 65, wdiebrtes, high blood pressure and have one kidney, Can I get PUA , Cares Act for any assistance

  11. im working at a place i have been layed off from a lot in my career.i got 30 yrs in there so i can retire now but need another job to make it hoping to stay working and get more hours.If i take a new job and get layed off there I will BE DRAWING 1400 A MONTH FROM THE JOB I WORKED 30 YRS would i be able to draw unemployment if the new job lays me off and would it be reduced because of my retirement money of 1400 month.

  12. My bf was laid off in April he got the the 600 to start with now he is only getting the unemployment and no extra when we hear ppl getting 3 checks totaling 40k that might be lies but still that is bullshit.

  13. I Sharon Bland or Sharon Scott or Sharon Ann Mccraw
    Use my phone to claim two of my boyfriends and my own benefits. Is that ok ?

  14. I’m getting pua on employment and it was supposed to be backdated to May 27th when I wasn’t ableable to start my new job and somehow it’s August 24th they said it would be backdated been sending messages and pua people keep saying they have emailed you guys too but nobody gets back to me who do I need to contact about this thank you

  15. I check my checking account balance every week but I cannot tell if I am getting my 300.00 extra unemployment. Also. How can I tell if I got my back time unemployment .

    1. Thelma,

      I did not understand what you meant. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for precise answers to all your questions.

  16. I have exhausted my UI and all extensions. Not eligible for Fed Ed. Does EDD open a PUA claim for me. Or do I have to aoole for it. Its been past 30 days since receiving my Fed Ed denial letter.

  17. i have been unemployed for the whole year almost and since i have been trying to distance myself to better my all around health, it took me this long to file for benefits, i was hoping to get back pay all the way to the beginning.

    1. Zach,

      To qualify, the claimant is required to have sufficient earnings/employment during the “Base Period”. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  18. Thank you o much for investigating this. When I received an overpayment statement and my benefits where stopped I felt my heart drop to my stomach. Already being evicted by a slumlord and now no income, i had to start working when i feel very at risk for getting the virus because of pre-existing conditions and the reason for filing in the first place. i am a cosmetologist and considered non-essential. I feel utterley hopeless and helpless in this situation.

  19. I cannot contact anyone in the unemployment offices because the phone hangs up on me in all cases after listening over and over the recorded message. I have called three numbers .

    I have received pandemic unemployment since March 31st. There was a pending adjudication but I never received any questions, letters nor emails about it and I was approved and paid. Now…this is what the website says:
    7 of 7 entries
    Issue Identification Number Employer Name Issue Type Status Date Mailed Level
    0002 7693 59-01
    PUA Pending 11/16/2020 Adjudication
    0002 4773 71-01
    Program Integrity Mailed 11/6/2020 Adjudicati
    Claimant Inbox
    Select the Search button to display your action items. To narrow your search, input issue date range below and select the Search button.
    Issue Date: From: To: 11/6/2020 to 11/16/2020
    • Below are the items that require your attention and that you need to take action on for your claim.
    • Select the Document ID
    I need this money to survive as others do while I am trying to re-establish any contract freelance work I am capable of doing….I report my small jobs as I get them but they do not come close to equaling my unemployment as of yet. Please tell me where I can go to find out what is needed here.

    1. Again basically I’ve also been put on hold for a ridiculously stupid reason.. Why can’t this issue be quickly handled. Is the any where we can get action if we already were receiving benefits and have been stopped suddenly

      1. Greg,

        I can understand your frustration. The Unemployment Office might be inundated with pending requests. Please visit the website to find the answers.

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