Shortly before the government shut down, House Republicans crafted their final spending offer, including two health care provisions designed to scare red-state Senate Democrats facing re-election battles: one to delay the Affordable Care Act's unpopular individual mandate and another removing subsidies for lawmakers and their staffs.

But the Democrats didn't budge, killing the proposal without a single defection. Their unity was so assured that Majority Leader Harry Reid didn't bother to convene a private caucus meeting to discuss the measure before the vote.

After a difficult summer for the party — with President Barack Obama and lawmakers deeply divided over Syria, surveillance policies and a looming Federal Reserve nomination — the budget battle that resulted in the shutdown early Tuesday has brought rare unity to the Democrats.