"As the House and Senate begin a political dance this week that includes the threat of shutting down the government over steep budget cuts passed by the House, many federal employees already know the steps.
The last government shutdown was 15 years ago, but the experience stuck with agency employees who lived through the tumultuous budget fight in late 1995 and early 1996. The twin government shutdowns that resulted from those skirmishes resulted in about a month of halted government operations -- except for those whose work was deemed "essential" by congressional and department direction.
At U.S. EPA's Atlanta office, furloughed employees formed a band called 'The Nonessentials.' "