Congress and the White House have a history of creating financial crises for the country, including:

- April 2011: They left the public on edge for weeks as they tangled over how to fund government. A government shutdown was moments away when they struck a deal to keep it open for several months more.

- August 2011: The fight over raising the government's borrowing limit dragged on for weeks. In the compromise, both sides agreed to a sequester, the threat of $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that would kick in if they failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan. They did fail, and those cuts took effect Friday.

- December 2011: Failing again to approve a budget, the two sides fought over another temporary funding measure to keep the government open. An eleventh-hour deal prevented a shutdown.

- December 2012: They spent a month tangling over the "fiscal cliff," a combination of massive spending cuts and tax increases that threatened the nation's economic recovery. The last-minute deal raised taxes for those earning $400,000 or more a year.