End of February: the Treasury Department will exhaust its ability to extend the nation's $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. At that point, the government will not be able to pay its bills unless Congress votes to raise the nation's legal borrowing limit.

Early March: deadline to deal with the $110 billion cut in spending, half from the Pentagon, delayed as part of this deal.

March 27: A short-term measure that funds government agencies will lapse. Without a renewal, the government will shut down.

Other items on the agenda: Immigration reform, overhauling the tax code, same-sex marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, gun control, welfare programs and Medicare.