The shutdown, in November 1995, lasted six days and furloughed about 800,000 federal employees. The next, a partial shutdown, lasted three weeks, from mid-December 1995 to early January 1996, and furloughed about 240,000 workers.
Thousands of state government employees have been furloughed without pay in recent years to help ease state budget woes. In California, for example, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered state workers to take two unpaid days off each month in 2009 and later extended the furloughs to three days a month.
Why shouldn't government workers take a similar hit? Kelley, the federal employee union president, says federal workers are simply bystanders caught in the middle of a political dispute, not part of a calculated plan to save money.
"This is not about a budget that is attempting to cut costs through furloughs," she said. "This is a situation where the parties cannot come to an agreement on a budget. Rather than stepping up and doing their jobs, they are just choosing to do nothing and shutting the government down."
- See 10 effects of a government shutdown.
- Check out a roundup of political cartoons about the budget and the deficit.
- Vote now: Will the government shut down?