As U.S. congressional leaders face a Friday deadline to avert a partial government shutdown, it might be worth looking back at what leaders said during a similar situation less than 16 years ago.
Included in this post is video of a CNN report from November 1995, shortly before a similar spending standoff led to the last series of partial government shutdowns.
"[The 1995 report] is really fascinating because you can just change the names, and it was almost the same as the arguments that we’re hearing from both sides now," CNN's Wolf Blizter said Wednesday.
Blitzer, who made the 1995 report, compared the rhetoric from both periods.
"At the time, the (House) speaker, Newt Gingrich … was saying that the president is more interested in politics (and) campaigning,” Blitzer told "CNN Newsroom" on Wednesday. “We just heard John Boehner, the (current House) speaker, say that the president is often in Pennsylvania (and) campaigning … very similar rhetoric then, to what’s going on right now.”
"It's a different environment right now," Blitzer said. "At that time, there was maybe a $4 trillion national debt. (Today) there is a $14 trillion national debt. There was no Tea Party movement then - there was a Contract with America movement then, but no Tea Party movement then."
Like today, the government in November 1995 hadn’t settled on a spending measure that would cover the whole fiscal year. Republicans this year were pushing for a deal that would cut spending by $61 billion, but Democrats have wanted only a fraction of that.
The most recent temporary spending measure is set to expire, and if a full 2011 plan (or another temporary spending measure) isn't passed by midnight Friday, some government services and offices could shut down until a plan is agreed upon.
The 1995 standoff resulted in two partial shutdowns – a five-day period in November and a 21-day period in December and January 1996. Some 800,000 federal workers were sent home during the first shutdown, and 284,000 more were sent home during the second.
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