Obama has said, repeatedly, he will not negotiate to raise the debt ceiling, noting that it enables the government to pay bills already rung up.
Some congressional Republicans say the debt ceiling issue can be used to leverage more budget cuts from the administration. Two years ago, a debt ceiling standoff led to a near-default and a downgrade in the nation's credit rating.
On Sunday, though, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., spoke out against a shutdown. "I don't think shutting down the government is a good idea, but I do think that we were elected, conservatives were elected, to try to stop this overreach, this government takeover of health care," Paul told Fox News Sunday.
The upcoming fall political season will see a renewed Obama effort to secure another major piece of legislation, an immigration bill. As he has in recent months, the president is planning to pressure House Republicans to sign off on the immigration bill approved by the Senate earlier this year.
Many House Republicans say a key a provision of that Senate bill — a pathway to citizenship for people already in the United States illegally — amounts to amnesty for lawbreakers.
Obama is likely to cite some of these issues this week when he embarks on a two-day bus tour of upstate New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. The president is also expected to stress education and jobs proposals.
(Read more: Newly revealed Obamacare delay draws fire)
Foreign affairs are no less crowded for the administration in the coming months.
Over the next few months, Obama faces the prospects of rising instability in Egypt, an escalating civil war in Syria and increasingly testy relations with Russia.
During the first week in September, he is scheduled to fly to St. Petersburg, Russia, for a Group of 20 nations summit, where a still-struggling global economy tops the agenda.
Even though the G-20 summit is in Russia, a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin is not on the schedule. Obama canceled a planned summit with Putin in Moscow after a string of differences that included Russia's decision to grant temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Snowden's leaks led to criticism of NSA tactics, and Obama has said he will work with Congress on potential improvements to surveillance programs.
Outside events can always intrude on a president's time, as they did this week during his vacation in Martha's Vineyard.
After Egypt's interim military government cracked down on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Obama responded by canceling plans for joint U.S.-Egyptian military exercises. He alluded to other potential aid cuts if the military government does not follow through on pledges to call new elections and re-install a democratically elected government.
"Going forward," Obama said, "I've asked my national security team to assess the implications of the actions taken by the interim government and further steps that we may take as necessary with respect to the U.S.-Egyptian relationship."
—By David Jackson of USA Today