Fed Gov't Shutdowns Prior to the 1995 One?

Was that 1995 thing the first time the federal gov’t shut down?

Not by a long shot. There were 15 shutdowns before the two that occurred in 1995, though most of them were only a few days long (unlike the 21-day Clinton-Gingrich debacle.) If you look at that history, we’ve actually gone a remarkably long time without the government shutting down.

The article mentions a “revised budgeting process” that kicked in in 1976, which makes me wonder whether shutdowns were impossible before then. Any policy wonks want to weigh in?

Shutdowns would have been less likely before then because the President had the ability to impound spending. He could have taken money allocated for nearly any purpose and used it to keep government functioning for quite a while.

He could do this because the power of Congress at that time to force spending on a particular appropriation was limited.