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Nov. 14-19, 1995: Clinton and Gingrich’s contract with America

December 22, 2018
President Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, of Ga., meet with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House Wednesday Nov. 1, 1995 to discuss their budget impasse. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Republicans wielding their Contract with America gained control of both the Senate and House for the first time since 1954 and Georgia’s Newt Gingrich was elected House speaker. Democratic President Bill Clinton, after the congressional midterm drubbing for his party, was dealing with the new world order.

Emboldened Republicans were intent on remaking Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and dozens of other programs while also cutting taxes. Clinton vetoed a resolution to temporarily fund the government because of the Medicare premium increases it contained.

After five days, a deal was reached to end the shutdown, but only for a few weeks so that negotiations could take place on the various spending bills funding the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. An estimated 800,000 workers were furloughed, though they would get paid retroactively, which is the historical practice.

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