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Timeline to a government shutdown

By Leslie Bentz, CNN
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Fri October 4, 2013

Washington (CNN) -- The government shutdown has been in place less than a week, though it certainly feels longer than that to many Americans.

That may be because the drama in Congress leading up to the actual shutdown was so drawn out and convoluted.

Here is a straightforward timeline of events leading up to the government shutdown:

Tuesday, September 17

14 days from shutdown

The GOP's shutdown strategy
Uninsured fear Obamacare delay
Furloughed employee fears going into debt

Both chambers of Congress were in session.

Sylvia Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, released a memo to government agencies warning of a "potential lapse in appropriations" and advising agencies to prepare contingency plans.

Thursday, September 19

12 days from shutdown

Both chambers of Congress were in session.

At the White House daily briefing, Carney, speaking about the debt ceiling, reiterated that the president "will not negotiate over Congress's responsibility to pay the bills that Congress incurred." Carney did say the administration "would be willing to accept a so-called clean CR (continuing resolution) at current spending levels for several months to allow for continued negotiations over a broader budget deal."

John Boehner, speaking at his weekly press conference on Capitol Hill, continued to push for a negotiation, saying, "So, while the president is happy to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, he won't engage with the Congress on a plan that deals with the deficits that threaten our economy."

Friday, September 20

11 days from shutdown

The House was in session, but the Senate was not.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded through December 15. The vote was 230-189, with most members voting along party lines. The legislation included language to defund the Affordable Care Act, and was sent to the Senate, where it was not expected to pass.

Speaker Boehner spoke to reporters that day, saying that "the American people don't want the government shut down and they don't want Obamacare. The house has listened to the American people. Now it's time for the United States Senate to listen to them as well."

Sen. Harry Reid released a statement in response to the actions of the House, saying, "Republicans are simply postponing for a few days the inevitable choice they must face: pass a clean bill to fund the government or force a shutdown."

President Barack Obama, while giving a speech on the economy at a Ford factory in Missouri, tells a crowd, "if we don't raise the debt ceiling, we're deadbeats."

Tuesday, September 24

7 days from shutdown

The Senate was in session, the House was not.

The Senate debated the continuing resolution sent over by the House, specifically focusing on removing the parts of the bill that would defund the Affordable Care Act. Reid, speaking at a weekly press conference, held firm to the Democrats' argument, saying, "the Senate will not pass any bill that defunds or delays Obamacare."

But the real headline of the day came from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who, with the support of some fellow Republicans, spoke on the floor of the Senate of more than 21 consecutive hours. Whether Cruz's marathon session constituted a filibuster or not was debatable, since it did not actually delay any scheduled votes, but he certainly succeeded in firing up the conservative base and promote the possibility of a shutdown.

Wednesday, September 25

6 days from shutdown

Most Americans awoke to find Ted Cruz still going strong on the floor of the Senate. After ending his speech Wednesday morning, the Senate went forward with the scheduled vote on the amended continuing resolution, which was stripped of any language that would affect the health-care law.

In a rare move, the Senate voted 100-0 in favor of amending the continuing resolution. That meant, of course, that after 21 hours of talking, Cruz eventually voted in favor of working on the very bill he had railed against for almost a full day.

The vote paved the way for the Senate to make amendments to the House bill.

At that day's White House briefing, Carney reiterated the administration's policy as the bill went back to the House, saying "this cannot and should not be a matter of negotiation."

Thursday, September 26

5 days from shutdown

Both chambers of Congress were in session.

President Obama spoke at a Maryland community college on the Affordable Care Act. Speaking about the potential for a shutdown or changes to the health-care law, Obama said, "That's not going to happen as long as I'm president. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."

Speaking at a stakeout camera on Capitol Hill, Boehner maintained that "the American people don't want the president's health care bill."

Friday, September 27

4 days from shutdown

Both chambers of Congress were in session.

The Senate officially voted on the continuing resolution, but not the same one House Republicans had sent to them. Instead, the Senate, in a vote of 54-44, voted to remove all provisions of the legislation dedicated to defunding the Affordable Care Act. This new CR was written to keep the government running only until November 15, one month less than the original House version. The bill was then sent back to the House.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon held a press briefing about the increasing likelihood of a shutdown, with Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale admitting that in the event of a lapse in funding, the DOD would not be able to "pay military personnel and civilian personnel, even if they have been directed to work."

Saturday, September 28

3 days from shutdown

The House was in session, the Senate was not.

The House of Representatives debated the Senate version of the CR well into the midnight hours in a rare weekend session.

Sunday, September 29

2 days from shutdown

The House was still in session from the previous day; the Senate was not in session.

Just after midnight, the House voted 231-192 to delay the implementation of the ACA by one year. It also voted 248-174 to repeal the controversial tax on medical devices, a key provision of funding for the health-care law.

The newly altered bill was then sent back to the Senate, and the House adjourned for the day.

The White House released a statement after the vote, saying, "Today Republicans in the House of Representatives moved to shut down the government," and reiterating the president's willingness to veto such legislation, saying "any member of the Republican Party who votes for this bill is voting for a shutdown."

Monday, September 30

1 day from shutdown

Both chambers of Congress were in session.

The day was spent with various versions of the CR bouncing back and forth between the chambers of Congress.

First the Senate voted 54-46 to once again strip the anti-health-care language from the bill, and the legislation moved back to the House.

Then the House added back language to delay the law and require Congress and their staffers to purchase health care at full cost, which passed 228-201. The bill was then, once again, sent back to the Senate.

Meanwhile, the president made a statement explaining what would happen in the event of a shutdown, which was beginning to look inevitable.

Well past 9 p.m., the Senate removed all the provisions the House has added, and approved the new (Old? Original? Who can tell at this point?) bill in yet another vote of 54-46. Once again, the bill returned to the House.

Speaker Boehner took to the floor of the House to tell members of Congress that he had spoken with the president, saying, "This is not about me. And it's not about Republicans here in Congress. It's about fairness for the American people."

In the midst of Continuing Resolution chaos, Congress did come together to pass a bill ensuring military members would continue to receive paychecks in the event of a shutdown, signaling neither side was willing to change their stance. The legislation was sent directly to the president, who signed it upon arrival.

Sylvia Burwell, director of the OMB, sent out a final memo to government agencies instructing them to "execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations."

Tuesday, October 1

The clock struck midnight, and the government's new fiscal year officially began. Since neither side was able to agree on legislation to keep the government funded, the shutdown was in effect.

Now doesn't that make everything much more simple?

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