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updated: 10/11/2013 7:07 AM

Timeline: Congress' path to federal shutdown

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  • Demonstrators display placards and chant during a rally to end the government shutdown, Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Demonstrators display placards and chant during a rally to end the government shutdown, Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington.
    Associated Press

Associated Press

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

Sept. 20: With a potential government shutdown 11 days off, the Republican-run House ignores a White House veto threat and approves legislation denying money for much of President Barack Obama's health care law while keeping the government open through Dec. 15.

Sept. 24-25: Tea party Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other conservatives speak on the Senate floor for more than 21 consecutive hours against the health care law. They do not delay or prevent votes, but they help intensify conservative fervor for using the shutdown bill to try forcing Democrats to limit or block the health care law.

Sept. 27: Democratic-led Senate votes to end conservative efforts to derail the bill preventing a shutdown, with even most Republicans opposing the conservatives. The Senate sends a bill keeping agencies open through Nov. 15 back to the House, after removing House-approved provision defunding the health care law.

Sept. 29: House shifts its demands for restricting the health care law. It votes to delay implementation of the health care overhaul by a year and to repeal a tax on many medical devices that helps pay for the law. Separately, the House votes to pay active duty troops, and some Defense Department civilian workers and defense contractors, in case of a shutdown. The next day, the Senate approves the bill and Obama signs it into law.

Sept. 30: Senate removes House provisions postponing the health care law and erasing the medical device tax. The House reworks its shutdown bill, delaying for a year the health care law's requirement that individuals buy health insurance and requiring members of Congress and their staff to pay the full expense of health insurance, without the government paying part of the costs. The Senate quickly kills the House health care provisions.

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

Oct. 2: Embarking on a strategy of voting to restart popular programs, Republicans push bills through the House reopening national parks and the National Institutes of Health and letting the District of Columbia municipal government spend money. House Democrats mostly vote "no" and Senate leaders ignore the measures, saying the entire government must reopen. Obama discusses the impasse with congressional leaders at the White House, participants report no progress.

Oct. 3: House votes to pay members of the National Guard and Reserves and finance veterans' programs.

Oct. 4: House votes to finance federal disaster aid programs and feeding programs for infants and pregnant women. The shutdown fight is increasingly tied to the need for Congress to renew federal borrowing authority by Oct. 17 or risk an economy-rattling government default. GOP leaders increasingly shift their conditions for passage of the shutdown and debt limit bills to deficit reduction.

Oct. 5: House votes to pay furloughed federal workers when the shutdown ends. 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. 7: House votes to fund Food and Drug Administration programs.

Oct. 8: House votes to finance Head Start, pay civil servants working during the shutdown and create a panel of lawmakers to negotiate on deficit reduction. 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. 9: House votes to pay halted death benefits to families of fallen troops and to finance the Federal Aviation Administration.

Oct. 10: Boehner proposes a six-week extension of the debt limit, conditions it on Obama bargaining over spending cuts and reopening the government. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew repeats warning that government borrowing authority expires Oct. 17, threatening a damaging federal default. Senate passes bill providing death benefits for slain troops and sends to Obama, House votes to fund border security programs.

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