If Congress fails to reach a deal to fund the government by midnight, it will mark the first time in 17 years that the United States government has shut down. A lot has changed in nearly two decades since December 1995 when the most recent shutdown began. It ended in January 1996.
At the time, blackberry was a fruit. Tweeting was something that birds did. And most notably, many of the key players in this round of the shutdown showdown game weren’t even in Washington yet.
So, where were they then?
President Obama was 34 and a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was 25 and had just graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, was even younger than his buddy Ted Cruz- he was 24 and still in law school at Brigham Young University.
House Majority Eric Cantor was in the Virginia state house.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was in the Senate, though not in his current leadership position.
Speaker of the House John Boehner was in the House of Representatives, but also not in his current leadership position. The man in that position was Newt Gingrich. At the time of that shutdown Boehner had strong words for the Clinton administration. ”The White House has been in fantasy land for months,” he said back in 1995. “At some point they need to stop gazing into their crystal ball and look to the Capitol and get into reality.”
The 1995-1996 shutdown was the longest in history at 21 days. If indeed the government shuts down this time, it’s not expected to last that long, although in Washington you can never be too sure, particularly when predicting the movements of teams with many new players.