The historical situation is this: One of the two major political parties in Congress is torn by conflicts. They cannot agree among themselves on how--or whether--to finance the operations of the federal government. They view the President as illegitimate, and reject his measures out of hand, but cannot agree on any of their own. They are torn apart furthermore by struggles over leadership, and fights among would-be presidential candidates worsen the situation. Because of these disputes, Congress is unable to act as needed, and the economy of the United States is damaged. The party itself never fully recovers, continues to be divided, and eventually will break up and disappear.
The year was 1841, the party was the Whig Party, and the President was John Tyler. A mostly forgotten episode, a tragedy, but we seem to be repeating it as farce.