McCaskill Tweets False Claim About History of Government Shutdowns

Sen. Claire McCaskill / Getty Images


Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) on Friday falsely claimed that it would be unprecedented for the government to shut down while one party controlled both Congress and the presidency.

McCaskill wrote on Twitter that the federal government has never "shut down" while one party controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House.

But in fact the government has shut down several times when the same party controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, and every single time that party was the Democrats.

As a Vox explainer published Friday noted, the government shut down five times under President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, when his fellow Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. Most of the shutdowns lasted for one or two weeks, and nearly all were caused by the House and Senate favoring different abortion policies.

"The Senate wanted to loosen restrictions on the use of Medicaid dollars to cover abortions (restrictions known informally as ‘the Hyde Amendment'), by allowing funding in cases of rape, incest, and when the health of the mother is in danger," Vox reported, referring to a shutdown from Sept. 30 to Oct. 13 in 1977.

"At the time, only abortions necessary to save the life of the mother were funded," Vox added. "The House, however, insisted on maintaining the stricter ban."

Alex Griswold

Alex Griswold   Email Alex | Full Bio | RSS
Alex is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. Before joining the Free Beacon, he was a writer for Mediaite and The Daily Caller. He is originally from Buffalo, New York, but regrettably now lives in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at

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