One of the most pressing issues facing Congress was the looming threat of a government shutdown, which would occur if lawmakers failed to pass a spending bill by September 30.
The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, passed a bill that would fund the government until December 3 and also raise the debt ceiling, which is the legal limit on how much the federal government can borrow.
However, the bill faced stiff opposition from Senate Republicans, who refused to vote for any measure that would increase the debt limit, arguing that Democrats should do it on their own through a process called reconciliation.
The standoff between the two parties created a stalemate that could have serious consequences for the economy and national security.
If the government shuts down, hundreds of thousands of federal workers would be furloughed or forced to work without pay, essential services would be disrupted, and billions of dollars would be lost in economic activity.
If the debt ceiling is not raised, the US could default on its obligations for the first time in history, triggering a global financial crisis and damaging its credit rating.
To avoid this scenario, Democratic leaders in Congress were scrambling to find a way to pass a stopgap funding bill that would keep the government open without raising the debt ceiling, hoping to buy more time to negotiate with Republicans or use reconciliation.
However, they faced resistance from some of their own members, especially progressives who wanted to link the spending bill to a larger $3.5 trillion package of social and environmental programs that they considered a priority.