Dec. 2010: Report warns, it's time to 'put up or shut up'
Entitled, “The Moment of Truth,” a report by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform warns of a pending catastrophe, and offers ways to help. “After all the talk about debt and deficits, it is long past time for America’s leaders to put up or shut up,” the commission writes. “We do not pretend to have all the answers. We offer our plan as the starting point for a serious national conversation in which every citizen has an interest and all should have a say.”
Feb. 19, 2011: House approves $60 billion in budget cuts
By approving more than $60 billion in cuts, House Speaker John Boehner aimed to deliver on the Republican promise to slash federal spending and bring the deficit under control. Items approved in the budget included cutting off federal funds to Planned Parenthood, barring agencies from spending money on the new health care reform law, and limiting Environmental Protection Agency activities.
April 2011: Government averts a shutdown
Republicans and Democrats released in April competing long-term plans for scaling back federal debt. Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee released the GOP plan on April 5, and President Obama released his a few days later.
May 2011: The U.S. hits $14.3 trillion debt limit
In May, House Republicans outlined a spending plan for the coming fiscal year, pressing for deep spending cuts. Despite Democratic objections, education, health and labor programs faced an average cut of 12 percent. House Speaker John Boehner wanted an equal amount of spending cuts in exchange for a raise on the debt ceiling.
June 2011: Biden debt talks hit a wall
Strong on their no-tax increase stance, Republican lawmakers wouldn't falter to Democratic pleas that tax hikes are necessary to reduce the deficit.
July 8, 2011: Dismal unemployment report puts pressure on debt talks
June’s unemployment report showed hiring slowed to a near standstill, and the unemployment rate soared to 9.2 percent, the highest rate of the year.
July 17, 2011: Downgrade possible
By now, both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have warned of a downgrade to the U.S. credit rating, and Obama gives party leaders 24 to 36 hours to deliver a plan of action.
July 19, 2011: Gang of Six vs. Cut, Cap and Balance
Senate leaders, a bipartisan "Gang of Six," finally start to speak Obama's language. Hoping to trim the deficit by the requested $4 trillion over the next 10 years, the plan would repeal the CLASS Act, a long-term care program established under the last year's health overhaul and force up to $500 billion in cuts from federal health care programs over the upcoming decade, on top of $1 trillion coming from tax increase out of closing loopholes in the tax code.
July 22, 2011: Boehner walks out
Concerns heightened as House Speaker John Boehner abruptly walked out of talks with President Obama. The two were reported to be discussing a $3 trillion deficit-cutting deal that angered many Democrats for not including enough tax hikes to offset spending cuts.
July 28, 2011: Two plans, no compromise
Rival plans by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid face less than four days to garner enough bipartisan support for a vote to make it to President Obama's desk.