Twelve days into the federal shutdown, Republican and Democratic lawmakers appear to finally at least be talking about how to end it.
But a look back at how we got here reveals plenty happened on the way to the bargaining table. Furloughed workers, darkened panda cams and angry World War II veterans charging barricades were just a few of the images to come out of the federal shutdown.
The first day of the shutdown was appropriately dramatic, with approximately 800,000 federal workers furloughed.
President Obama characterized the shutdown as the Republicans’ doing.
“One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government,” Obama said.
By day two, World War II veterans refused to accept the shutdown without a fight. A group of veterans stormed the barricades of the World War II memorial in protest.
After the protest, a park sign was amended to read that the National Park Service area was shut down, “except for First Amendment activities.”
During the next few days the spin war took a nasty turn.
After an anonymous White House official was quoted as saying “We are winning,” Speaker of the House John Boehner angrily told members of the media, “This isn’t some damn game.”
On the fifth day of the shutdown, furloughed workers still on pins and needles about their paycheck got some relief. The House voted to provide back pay for federal workers who are furloughed during the shutdown.
By the end of the week, lawmakers started to become more vocal about calling for a continuing resolution vote.
“Let me issue [Boehner] a friendly challenge. Put it on the floor Monday or Tuesday,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “I would bet there are the votes to pass it.”
Obama followed up by telling the media that the House should, “hold a vote, call a vote right now. Let’s see what happens.”
Eventually, with no movement forward on either side of the aisle, talk in Washington turned to the nuclear option: default.
“Insane, catastrophic, chaos, these are some of the more polite words,” Obama said of possibly not raising the debt ceiling.
Intense talk on the debt ceiling seemed to give way to the political fever breaking. On Friday, Obama met with Senate Republicans in a closed-door session.
After the session Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the president “listened carefully.”
“He said that some of the elements were issues we could work on,” she said.
Congressional leaders and the president are said to be working through the weekend on coming to an agreement, but, so far, no word on whether the federal government – and the panda cams – will be up and running by Monday morning.