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How We Got Here: A Shutdown Timeline

Now that the congressional standoff over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling has finally ended, here's a look back at the key events of the crisis:

Jan. 18

  • At a Republican retreat in Williamsburg, Va., GOP leaders agree not to force a debt ceiling showdown and to address deficit reduction demands later in the year.
  • Aug. 19

  • The conservative group Heritage Action's anti-Affordable Care Act town hall tour begins in Fayetteville, Ark. The tour features Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his father, Rafael Cruz, and Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina senator.
  • Aug. 21

  • 80 House Republicans sign a letter to Speaker John Boehner urging him to "affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of ObamaCare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill."
  • Sept. 20

  • House Republicans approve legislation that would defund the health care law while keeping the government open through Dec. 15. The White House has already said the president would veto such a measure.
  • Sept. 24-25

  • Ted Cruz stages 21-hour speech on the Senate floor to protest the Affordable Care Act.
  • Sept. 26

  • Boehner says President Obama needs to negotiate with Republicans on raising the debt limit. The Treasury has warned it will run out of "extraordinary measures" it has been using to keep paying the nation's bills by Oct. 17.
  • Sept. 27

  • The Democratic-controlled Senate strips language from the House bill that defunds Obamacare and sends legislation back to the House that keeps the government open through Nov. 15.
  • Sept. 29

  • The House passes another spending bill tied to the Affordable Care Act — this time voting to delay implementation of the law for one year and to repeal a medical device tax.
  • The House also votes to pay active-duty troops and some Defense Department civilian workers and contractors in the case of a shutdown. The Senate approves this bill and the president signs it on Sept. 30.
  • Sept. 30

  • Obama makes a statement to the media, saying a government shutdown is "entirely preventable if the House chooses to do what the Senate has already done, and that's the simple act of funding our government without making extraneous and controversial demands in the process."
  • Senate strips language from the House bill that delays the health law and repeals the medical device tax.
  • The House puts forth legislation that delays the health law's individual mandate for a year and requires members of Congress and their staffs to buy plans on the exchange without subsidies from the government. The Senate rejects that plan as well.
  • Oct. 1

  • Shutdown begins. The House stands by its language from the previous day and requests negotiations with the Senate, which the Senate rejects.
  • Oct. 2

  • The House begins passing piecemeal funding bills for programs and entities affected by the shutdown, including the national parks and the National Institutes of Health. The Senate refuses any bill that doesn't reopen the entire government.
  • Oct. 4

  • After an unnamed administration official is quoted saying it doesn't matter how long the shutdown lasts because "we are winning," Boehner tells reporters: "This isn't some damn game!"
  • Oct. 5

  • The House passes legislation to provide back pay to furloughed federal workers once the shutdown ends.
  • Obama tells The Associated Press that Boehner is the only obstacle to ending the shutdown.
  • Oct. 6

  • Boehner says House Republicans won't end the shutdown or raise the debt ceiling without negotiations.
  • Oct. 10

  • Boehner proposes a six-week extension of the debt limit if Obama negotiates over spending cuts.
  • The Senate passes House legislation to provide death benefits to the families of deceased military personnel during the shutdown.
  • Oct. 12

  • Boehner informs House Republicans that talks with the White House are stalled.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his GOP counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell, begin meetings to negotiate funding the government and raising the debt ceiling.
  • Oct. 13

  • Senate Democratic leaders reject Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins' proposal to reopen the government and repeal the medical device tax.
  • Oct. 14

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada listens to a reporter's question about a meeting with Senate Republicans.
    Charles Dharapak / AP
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada listens to a reporter's question about a meeting with Senate Republicans.

  • Reid and McConnell say they're working toward a deal that would extend the debt limit through Feb. 7 and keep the government open through Jan. 15.
  • Oct. 15

  • House Republican leaders cancel a vote on Boehner's proposal to fund the government through Dec. 15, raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7 and end federal health insurance subsidies for Congress and staff.
  • The rating agency Fitch warns that the United States' AAA credit rating is being reviewed for a possible downgrade.
  • Oct. 16

  • After Senate leaders announce a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, Boehner says the House won't block it.
  • First the Senate and then the House vote to approve the deal.
  • Oct. 17

  • President Obama signs the bill and the government reopens. Thousands of federal employees head back to work.
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