Over the years, the quirks of the congressional budgetary season have led to gaps in funding for some government agencies.
Since 1968 at least one agency has been put in that position almost every year, according to a study published in March by the General Accounting Office (GAO Report PAD-81-31, March 3, 1981.) In October, 1980, funding stopped for all government agencies for about 16 hours because of disputes over riders on busing, abortion and the congressional pay increase. Here is a summary, as provided by GAO, of the other funding gaps since 1968, and the major issues that held up the funding.
1980: Federal Trade Commission shut down for one day when its authorization expired, but according to GAO, it was without appropriations for a total of 26 days. Funding for nine other appropriations categories was delayed because of riders involving the congressional pay increase and abortion, among others.
1979: Gaps in funding for as long as 17 days were experienced in eight appropriations areas because of disputes over abortion, public works water projects and delays in passing authorizing legislation.
1978: Funding for the Labor and Health and Human Services Departments and related agencies bill was held up on the abortion issue, creating a gap of 28 days. Funds for foreign assistance and related programs also were held up for 12 days.
1977: Ten-day gap for programs within the Health, Education and Welfare Department and the Energy Research and Development Administration because of the heavy preadjournment workload created by the abortion issue.
1976: No gaps.
1975: Foreign assistance programs went without funds for 39 days because of dispute over military aid to Turkey. Five other appropriations areas also experienced funding gaps.
1974: Gaps were created in 10 appropriations areas; a major cause for the delay, according to GAO, was the allocation of funds to states and localities for educational aid to the disadvantaged.
1973: Five appropriations areas were without funds for as many as 18 days. The battle over impoundments and reconstruction aid for North Vietnam were the main causes of the delays.
1972: Ten areas were delayed, including foreign assistance programs, which were hung up for 29 days because of disputes over withdrawing troops from Indochina and aid to Cambodia.
1971: No delays.
1970: Labor-HHS funding was held up for 28 days because of debate over federal spending and inflation issues. Funding for nine other areas also was held up.
1969: Defense and foreign aid appropriations delayed for four days.
1968: A presidential request for a 10 percent surtax and proposed cuts in federal spending worked to delay funding in nine appropriations areas.