How Congress got here: US shutdown and debt-ceiling timeline

On Sept. 24 and 25, Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and other conservatives, spoke on Senate floor for more than 21 consecutive hours about using shutdown bill to weaken health care law.
US Senate TV/Reuters
On Sept. 24 and 25, Tea Party Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and other conservatives, spoke on Senate floor for more than 21 consecutive hours about using shutdown bill to weaken health care law.

A timeline of Congress’s battle over the partial government shutdown and expiring federal borrowing authority:

Sept. 20: Republican-run House ignores White House veto threat, votes to keep government open through Dec. 15 if President Barack Obama agrees to cut off money for his 2010 health care law.

Sept. 24-25: Tea party Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other conservatives speak on Senate floor for more than 21 consecutive hours about using shutdown bill to weaken health care law.


Sept. 27: Democratic-led Senate votes to remove House-approved provision defunding health care law, sends bill keeping agencies open through Nov. 15 back to House.

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Sept. 29: House shifts demands on health care law, votes to delay implementation for a year and repeal tax on medical devices. Separately, House votes to pay troops in case of shutdown. Senate approves bill next day, Obama signs it into law.

Sept. 30: Senate rejects latest House provisions curbing health care law. House reworks shutdown bill again, delaying for a year health care law requirement that individuals buy health insurance and requiring members of Congress and staff to pay full expense of health insurance, without government paying part of costs. Senate kills latest House health care provisions.

Oct. 1: Government’s new fiscal year begins, partial federal shutdown starts. House stands by language delaying required individual health coverage and blocking federal health insurance subsidies for Congress, requests formal negotiations with Senate. Senate quickly rejects House effort for formal bargaining.

Oct. 2: Embarking on strategy of voting to restart popular programs, Republicans push bills through House reopening national parks and National Institutes of Health and letting the District of Columbia municipal government spend money. Over the next two weeks, they pass more than a dozen similar bills reviving veterans, disaster aid, Head Start and other programs. Democrats mostly vote ‘‘no,’’ saying entire government must reopen, and Senate ignores the measures. Obama discusses impasse with congressional leaders at White House, no progress reported.


Oct. 4: Republicans increasingly tie shutdown fight to need for Congress to renew federal borrowing authority by Oct. 17 or risk economy-rattling government default. GOP leaders increasingly shift their conditions for passage of the shutdown and debt limit bills to deficit reduction.

Oct. 5: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is bringing most of his department’s 350,000 furloughed workers back to work immediately.

Oct. 6: House Speaker John Boehner says House won’t pass bills ending shutdown or raising debt limit without negotiations on GOP demands.

Oct. 8: Obama and Boehner suggest they might consider short-term bills ending the shutdown and extending the debt limit to give them time to negotiate.

Oct. 10: Boehner proposes six-week debt limit extension, conditioned on Obama bargaining over spending cuts and reopening government. House GOP leaders discuss standoff with Obama at White House, no deal but both sides cite progress. Congress gives final approval to bill providing death benefits for slain troops and Obama signs it.


Oct. 11: White House, congressional Republicans continue bargaining. A bipartisan Senate group works on a measure that would reopen the government and prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its bills.

Oct. 12: Boehner tells House Republicans that negotiations with White House have stalled. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., begin talks. Senate derails Democratic effort to extend debt limit through 2014.

Oct. 14: Reid and McConnell say they’ve made progress toward a deal described as extending debt limit to Feb. 7, reopening government until Jan. 15, other provisions.

Oct. 15: Boehner prepares House alternative but it collapses for lack of votes. His proposal would have extended debt limit to Feb. 7, fully reopened government until Dec. 15, ended federal health insurance subsidies for president, members of Congress, other government officials.

Oct. 16: Reid, McConnell announce deal on reopening government through Jan. 15, extending debt limit to Feb. 7. Congress plans votes later in day.