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Venable partner John Cooney participated in a Q&A with the Washington Post on how the plans for government shutdowns were designed to strengthen the president in negotiations, why shutdowns present more of a challenge in 2011 than in 1985 and why shutdowns occur in general.

On why a shutdown is more difficult today, Cooney said, "The federal workforce is different today than it was then. Now you have many more contract employees carrying out functions." He added, "The old model where we had federal employees working on things and contractors delivering is not how things work anymore."

He further commented that, "Having a shutdown is a terrible way to resolve public policy disputes, but sometimes it’s the only way if the executive branch and legislative branch are at an impasse.