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Posted at 5:38 PM ET, 02/23/2011

How will a federal government shutdown affect D.C.?

By Mike DeBonis

Early Saturday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a measure cutting $61 billion from the federal budget. The Senate is unlikely to agree, raising the prospect that the government could shut down as soon as March 4 for the first time since January 1996.

My colleague Ed O'Keefe has done a fine job laying out what would happen in case the federal government shuts down. But what about the District government? During the last shutdown crisis, in 1995 and 1996, the city was affected during the first of two shutdowns, from Nov. 14 to Nov. 19, 1995, after Congress refused to appropriate District operating funds.

So what happened?

The city kept home all but "essential" employees, but it defined "essential" rather liberally. Police and firefighters remained on the job; public schools, courts and hospitals remained open. According to a Washington Post report at the time, a full two-thirds of city workers were deemed essential. The designations were left up to Mayor Marion Barry, who had to be mindful that whichever functions of government he chose to restore, there was no guarantee that Congress would retroactively agree to pay for them.

Continue reading at DeBonis >>

By Mike DeBonis  | February 23, 2011; 5:38 PM ET
Categories:  Government Shutdown  
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