A last-minute deal -- literally last-minute -- was reached to keep the government open with a short-term spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, until September.
Through the standoff, Republicans won a $38.5 billion reduction in government spending, restricted access to abortions and an extension of the school voucher program in Washington, D.C., and a vote in the Senate to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The deal effectively started the clock until the next crisis.
August 2011: Ditching on debt ...
"Default would cause a financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only now starting to recover," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a letter to Congress in 2011, warning lawmakers of the consequences of hitting the debt ceiling.
During that battle, Republicans demanded spending cuts in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. Another 11th-hour deal averted default, but the U.S. credit rating was downgraded anyway.
The agreement only temporarily shelved the debt ceiling debate, however. And it set the stage for a much larger fight down the road. While it cut more than $900 billion from the budget over 10 years, it also put into place the framework for forced, across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester. Congress would have just more than a year to figure out a way to cut and additional $1 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade or the automatic spending cuts on both defense and domestic programs would go into place.
September 2011: Kicking the can ...
Yep, just one month later, another battle over spending nearly led to a government shutdown -- the third such battle of 2011.
Two years ago, White House spokesman Jay Carney said something eerily familiar: "The fever hasn't broken," he told reporters, referring to budget battles in Congress that threatened a government shutdown. This time the September 2011 threats revolved around the amount of disaster relief funding.
While Democrats said Republicans were "holding hostage" aid to Americans hit by natural disasters, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said Democrats have chosen "to engage in a political stare-down match that will bring us one step closer to a government shutdown."
Mild by comparison to the previous two fights as it ended days before the deadline, Congress reached an agreement that reduced the amount of disaster relief for states.
December 2012: Walking the edge of the fiscal cliff
Crisis, debt limit, tax increases, budget cuts, default: common words written (again) and spoken (again) in Washington this past holiday season.
"Hopefully there is still time for an agreement of some kind that saves the taxpayers from a wholly preventable economic crisis," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in the lead-up to that fiscal showdown.
There's that word again. Crisis. Another pending economic crisis.
That fight was dubbed the "fiscal cliff." It was the culmination of ad-hoc agreements from previous government shutdown debates since 2011. Lawmakers worked through New Year's Eve to reach a deal on tax rates, the debt ceiling and government spending levels.
While Congress agreed to raise the debt limit and raise a series of taxes, including on the wealthiest Americans, an agreement on government spending levels was not reached and the forced spending cuts -- the sequester -- went into effect, trimming up to 10 percent off non-mandatory federal defense and domestic programs.
March 2013: Again?
"The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip," the president said in January as Washington geared up for another fight over the debt ceiling, spending and the ACA.
This debate was an extension of the New Year's Eve "fiscal cliff" battle. If Congress didn't reach an agreement, the result: you guessed it, government shutdown. What resulted was a spending bill that kept the government open until Sept. 30 and also kept deep, across-the-board budget cuts in place that cut $85 billion across the board for the remainder of the year -- and $1 trillion over 10 years -- from military and domestic programs.
And here we are
That leads us to today. A new day but same story: Congress and the president are drawing lines in the sand over the same issues with the same dramatic consequences if they fail to reach an agreement.
"This country has worked too hard for too long to dig out of a crisis just to see their elected representatives here in Washington purposely cause another crisis," Obama said Monday on the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis.
"President Obama, Harry Reid, will scream and holler that the mean, nasty Republicans are threatening to shut down the government," Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said on CNN in August. "And at that point, Republicans have to do something we haven't done in a long time -- stand up and win the argument."
"We're really seeing the same issues that have divided President Obama and the Republican House since January of 2011, coming back yet again, almost in this kind of circular loop that we're stuck in of fiscal crises that we can't get out of," Brownstein said.