President Obama and congressional leaders repeatedly expressed optimism that they would strike a deal on taxes and spending, but they failed to pass a bill before Jan. 1. 

After much partisan bickering, Congress instead passed a bill on New Year's Day. 

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A timeline of the "fiscal-cliff" debate since the Nov. 6 election follows.

Nov. 6: President Obama wins reelection; Democrats pick up seats in the House and Senate.

Nov. 8: Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidGOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination The Memo: Teens rankle the right with gun activism MORE (D-Nev.) says, “We are not going to mess with Social Security” in fiscal-cliff deal.

Nov. 8: Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election MORE (R-Ohio) delivers carefully worded speech via teleprompter, offers $800 billion in revenue. He tells ABC News, "The election's over. Now it's time to get to work."

Nov. 11: Conservative pundit Bill Kristol says on "Fox News Sunday," "It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.”

Nov. 13: Obama offers plan of $1.6 trillion in tax revenue and $400 billion in spending reductions. 

Nov. 15: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Trump has not invited Democrats, media to state dinner: report MORE (R-Ky.) calls Obama’s proposal a "joke."

Nov. 16: Reps. BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerA warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election MORE and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sens. Reid and McConnell meet with Obama. Leaders express optimism, say the meeting was "constructive." Stock market reacts favorably.

Nov. 27: Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) calls on his colleagues to pass Obama’s tax plan. Boehner and other GOP leaders say they disagree with Cole.

Nov. 29: Rank-and-file Republicans break with conservative activist Grover Norquist and the tax pledge he has spearheaded.

Nov. 29: Amid impasse, Reid says he doesn’t “understand [Boehner’s] brain.”

Dec. 3: Obama tells Cole at White House Christmas party, “Seriously, I will go further on this thing than you guys think.”

Dec. 3: House Republican leaders make counteroffer that would cut $2.2 trillion from the deficit with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.

Dec. 3: House GOP cracks whip, bounces four members off panels in effort to foster unity.

Dec. 4: White House press secretary Jay Carney calls GOP fiscal-cliff deal “magic beans and fairy dust.” Democrats insist that increasing tax rates must be part of any agreement.

Dec. 6: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says on CNBC that the Obama administration is willing to go over the cliff if GOP doesn’t bend on tax rates.

Dec. 6: McConnell filibusters his own amendment to allow the president to increase the debt ceiling after Democrats appear to have the votes to pass it.

Dec. 7: Pelosi meets with Obama at the White House.

Dec. 11: Obama predicts GOP will cave on taxes.

Dec. 13: Obama and Boehner meet. Deal appears to be within reach as Boehner compromises on tax rates and Obama puts Social Security adjustment on the table and moves tax threshold from $250,000 to $400,000.

Dec. 18: Boehner says he will move to a “Plan B” on the fiscal cliff by having the House vote on legislation to extend tax rates on annual income under $1 million.

Dec. 19: Obama invokes Connecticut shootings to prod Congress on fiscal cliff: “If this past week has done anything, it should give us some perspective.”

Dec. 19: Boehner says Plan B will pass.

Dec. 19: Norquist says Plan B does not violate Americans for Tax Reform pledge.

Dec. 20: Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorRace for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election Scalise allies upset over Ryan blindside on McCarthy endorsement 2018 will test the power of political nobodies MORE (R-Va.) says Plan B will pass.

Dec. 20: Obama says, "Take the deal."

Dec. 20: Lacking the votes, Boehner cancels vote on Plan B bill. Boehner says it’s up to the Senate to act.

Dec. 21: Obama meets with Reid and talks with Boehner via phone. He tells the press that lawmakers should cool off over Christmas — "drink some eggnog, eat some Christmas cookies" — and then address the fiscal cliff. Obama heads to Hawaii for Christmas and returns Dec. 26.

Dec. 26: The Treasury Department announces the U.S. government will hit the $16.4 trillion debt limit on Dec. 31 and will have to resort to “extraordinary measures” to continue borrowing.

Dec. 27: Reid says it is likely too late for Congress to pull the nation back from the fiscal cliff.

Dec. 28: Congressional leaders meet with the president at the White House. Obama says he is "modestly optimistic" fiscal-cliff deal can be reached as Reid and McConnell seek to reach an agreement.

Dec. 28: Stocks close lower for the fifth straight day amid fears there will be no deal on the fiscal cliff.

Dec. 30: McConnell and Reid fail to reach an accord amid disagreements on Social Security, defense sequester and estate tax. McConnell calls Vice President Biden to jump-start talks.

Dec. 31: Before stock market opens, reports indicate there is major progress on a deal. When markets close, no bill has been released and congressional aides acknowledge that the U.S. will go over the cliff. Earlier in the day, Obama had criticized Congress at a White House event, infuriating some Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Dec. 31: Biden and McConnell finalize deal that sets tax rate threshold at $450,000 for families and $400,000 for individuals. Pact also delays sequester, but does not include significant spending cuts.

Jan. 1: The Senate passes the deal, 89-8. House Republicans vow to review Senate-passed bill.

Jan. 1: House Republicans balk at $4 trillion bill and consider amending it. Lacking the votes, House GOP leaders schedule vote on Senate legislation. It passes, 257-167, with the support of only 85 Republicans. Boehner votes yes while Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) vote no. Obama holds press conference with Biden to tout the passage of the measure.