On Aug. 2, 2011, the Senate passed a $2.1 trillion budget package capping months of grueling partisan wrangling that brought the nation to the brink of a historic default on its obligations. The vote came just hours before the Treasury Department had warned the U.S. would default on its debt. The House passed the package the day before.
CQ Roll Call photojournalists documented the wheeling and dealing during the summer of 2011 and showcase them here as current debt limit negotiations continue.
JULY 14, 2011: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, center, speaks during a news conference in the Capitol after the Senate Democrats' caucus lunch meeting on the debt limit negotiations. Also shown are, from left, Sens. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Charles E. Schumer of New York, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington — (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call) JULY 19, 2011: Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, center, speaks outside of the White House with other freshman House Republicans after sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to release his debt limit plan to Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) JULY 21, 2011: The movie "The Longest Yard" plays on a television monitor during Speaker John A. Boehner's weekly news conference on the debt ceiling talks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) JULY 25, 2011: Reid, right, and Schumer conduct a news conference in the Capitol on a new proposal to raise the debt ceiling. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call) JULY 27, 2011: Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina speaks during a rally in Upper Senate Park encouraging Republicans to support their “Cut, Cap and Balance” proposal. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) JULY 28, 2011: Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana leaves Speaker Boehner’s office after a meeting on the debt ceiling. House Republicans later announced they would not hold a vote until the next day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) JULY 29, 2011: Boehner appears on a closed-circuit television in the subway leading to the Rayburn House Office Building as the House prepared to vote on the Republican measure to raise the debt ceiling. The Senate later rejected it. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) JULY 30, 2011: Sen. Dean Heller, right, tries to get a free pizza from the Pi on Wheels pizza food truck, which was offering free pizzas to anyone with a Senate ID in hopes of helping the chamber come to an agreement on the debt ceiling. The Nevada Republican was disappointed they were out of meat pizzas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) AUGUST 1, 2011: Vice President Joe Biden talks to reporters in the Capitol Visitor Center after a meeting with the House Democratic caucus on the ongoing debt ceiling negotiations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) AUGUST 1, 2011: Boehner, center, reacts to reporters’ questions in the basement of the Capitol as he leaves a House GOP caucus meeting on increasing the debt ceiling. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) AUGUST 1, 2011: From left, Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California and Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam of Illinois phone GOP caucus members from Cantor’s Capitol office to see how they will be voting before the debt limit vote in the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) AUGUST 1, 2011: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, center, arrives at the Capitol with her husband Mark Kelly, right, and fellow Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida to vote on the debt limit bill in the House. Giffords was still recovering from a gunshot wound to the head she sustained after surviving an assassination attempt on January 8 in Tucson. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) AUGUST 1, 2011: As the House votes on the debt ceiling bill, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota — who was also a Republican presidential candidate at the time — greets a family from Kansas City, Mo., on the House steps as they hold a family protest calling for a balanced budget. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) AUGUST 1, 2011: From left, Republican then-Rep. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Democratic Reps. Loretta Sanchez of California and Bill Owens of New York, and Republican Reps Billy Long of Missouri and Timothy Johnson of Illinois walk down the House steps after the chamber passed the debt ceiling bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) AUGUST 2, 2011: Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona talks with reporters before the Senate passed the deal to raise the debt limit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) AUGUST 2, 2011: Reid wades through a throng of reporters following his news conference on the Senate passing the measure to raise the debt limit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)