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Politics On Point: Government Shutdown

Abbey tells us all about government shutdowns, what they mean, and what the consequences could be.

Class Discussion Questions:

  1. Research the history of government shutdowns. When was the longest shutdown? What government program has the biggest impact on your life?
  1. Who are your representatives in the United States Congress? How did your Representative vote on the spending bill? How did Ohio’s Senators vote? Where did you find this information?

What is a government shutdown?

Imagine your family has a weekly budget to spend on things you need and activities you enjoy. Your family usually plans how to spend this money each week. They decide how much goes to food, games, toys, and other important things.

Now, let's say you can't agree on how to divide the budget. Maybe someone thinks more should go to games, and others think more should go to food. Because you can't agree, you decide not to spend any money at all for a little while until you figure it out.

A government shutdown is a bit like that. The government also has money set aside to do important things, like running schools, keeping parks open, and helping people.

But sometimes, the people who make the decisions in the government can't agree on how to spend that money. they might have different ideas about what's most important.

A government shutdown occurs when the federal government temporarily stops all non-essential functions and activities due to a lack of approved funding for government operations.

This typically happens when the legislative body, such as congress, fails to pass the spending bill or a budget that funds government agencies and programs for the upcoming fiscal year.

A government shutdown ends when the legislative body approves the necessary funding through a budget agreement or a continuing resolution, allowing the government to resume its operations.