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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Washington (AFP) – The United States Wednesday stood hours from a fateful fiscal deadline, with a chaotic political standoff threatening to trigger a debt default and rock the global economy.

Hopes that Congress would agree to raise the government’s borrowing authority as required by midnight rested with last gasp talks in the Senate — with America’s top notch credit rating on the line.

Any deal though would have to make it through the Republican-led House of Representatives, where conservative Tea Party lawmakers have thwarted previous compromise efforts in a bid to undermine Democratic President Barack Obama.

If Congress fails to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling in time, the U.S. Treasury would begin to run out of money to meet all U.S. obligations and slip towards a historic default.

Such a scenario could badly damage the U.S. recovery, saddle American consumers with higher interest payments and send economic shockwaves into fragile global economies.

In Asia, stocks fell early Wednesday as investors kept an eye on the American impasse. In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index gave up early gains to slip 0.16 percent, 23.44 points, to 14,418.10. In Hong Kong stocks eased 0.39 percent by the lunchtime break.

Hopes for an exit strategy rest with talks between Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell.

The two old foes saddled up after maneuvering by the House Tuesday dissolved in chaos. Republican Speaker John Boehner proved unable to win support from his caucus and unwilling to use minority Democratic votes to raise the debt ceiling and re-open the U.S. government after a two week shutdown.

In the face of the deadline, the U.S. political system, divided between Obama’s Democrats and Republicans who run the House, has virtually ground to a halt.

Major world powers have been left looking on in dismay at the brinkmanship in Washington, unable to do anything to protect their own economic interests, with many deeply invested in U.S. Treasuries — hitherto seen as one of the safest global safe havens.

Amid rising anxiety on the markets, the financial rating agency Fitch put the United States on warning for a downgrade from its top-grade AAA spot.

Despite the deepening impasse, Obama said he still expected the issue would be resolved in the end.

“My expectation is that this gets solved, but we don’t have a lot of time,” he told an ABC television affiliate in New York.

“What I’m suggesting to the congressional caucus is to avoid any posturing … do what’s right, open the government and make sure we pay our bills.”

What was essentially a wasted day, with precious few hours to spare Tuesday, unfolded as House Republicans tried to extend U.S. borrowing authority until February 7 and re-open the government until December 15.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • stcroixcarp

    Start calling your tea party congressmen and demand that they resign immediately. (Hint: They are not taking calls because their mailboxes are full so try the local offices,)

  • ram1020

    These bills are so close that there will be some resolution. It looks like the Democrats what to make sure that the solution is labeled as their brand, regardless of what it in it. I understand from other articles that the $63/person fee for having employer sponsored insurance is being looked at in the Senate bill, but not the House. I understand it is a matter of waiving it for everyone, or just for Unions.
    I wish they would keep some of the House provisions in, specifically the one that requires the House and Senate members to use ACA, and the one that forbids the Treasury from using creative accounting to express the debt. It would stop a lot of gamesmanship, and it would be an incentive to correct the issues with ACA and the ACA software quicker.

    • Marlo The Bear

      Nothing will correct software issues but information system employees. Having worked in IT for more than 30 years its almost impossible to implement a system without glitches. Some of your big corporations such as IBM & Microsoft tend to fix problems and advertise them as new releases. Since they’re well aware that most of the bickering is from people who have no idea what the problems are the NUTS advertise them as problems with ACA. ACA and IT issues are totally different animals. Right now as with any implementation we’re experiencing IT issues. Until they’re fixed we will not know the impact of the ACA problems nor the benefits. It’s understandable why the rest of the world is laughing.

  • charleo1

    Terrorism is not all that hard to spot. It’s tactics are employed by ideological zealots,
    who are in the minority. But feel their agenda is more important than anything that
    might, or will be destroyed. To the extremist, terrorism is the essence of the means
    justifying the end. And a perfectly acceptable, and to the terrorist, an honorable endeavor. One, that every terrorist who ever lived, will tell you. They were simply
    left with no other choice, or recourse. So, in this necessary destruction, in their
    minds, they are blameless. The fault lies with those who fail to see our truth. If there
    be blame, it is on them, not us.

  • Billie

    I keep thinking that there is something more going on with Ted Cruz than not wanting to fund the health care act. I know he wants to bring down the president, but I think he wants to bring down the USA. Is he being paid by Al Quada or some other terrorist organization. I know it sounds far fetched, but he seems so sinister.

    • oldtack

      Remember – he is a half breed Cuban born in Canada. He needs a good nickname – Let’s call him Little Fidel. And in most respects I agree with your assessment.

  • Lovefacts

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what the Senate does, the House won’t pass anything because Boehner is a coward and allowing the tail to wag the dog. To think, he’s letting 30 to 80 members of his party destroy this country’s economy because he doesn’t have the guts to say F**K YOU because he’s forgotten he’s Speaker of the HOUSE, not the Republicans. But then, that blasted Hastert Rule proves that for decade the Republicans haven’t believed they represented anyone other than those who put them in office.

    Sadly, these right-wing T-party wing nuts will succeed where al-Qaeda failed. They’ll destroy the US economy and our standing in the world, and in the process make us a country held in distain and to be avoided economically. Too bad they can’t be arrested for terrorism.

    • johninPCFL

      Last week the teabaggers realized that Boehner was going to try to make a deal, so they voted through a rule change that requires Cantor to introduce the bill. Since he won’t, there’s nothing Boehner can do.

  • Pamby50

    What a bunch of lunatics. They are now posturing on who will vote on the senate plan first. Will it be the house or the senate. It is 11 am CST. John Boehner & the house get to decide first. This will be an all day affair. What a disgrace.

    • johninPCFL

      Cantor has to introduce the bill to the House thanks to a rule change the teabaggers voted in last week.

  • Jim Myers

    Is this really the picture we want to portray to the world?

    When will Boehner develop a spine and bring a clean bill to the house?

    • johninPCFL

      He can’t. Last week the teabaggers voted in a new rule that Cantor has to introduce the bill.

  • bfg

    From the point of view of the tea party’s corporate masters the Recession was a good thing. They trimmed their workforces, cut salaries and benefits, increased productivity and now their profit margins are bigger than ever. Closing the government has meant getting rid of all those pesky government safety inspectors. What we have here is a faction of the legislature that doesn’t need to be concerned about what is good for the country. Instead they are concerned about what is good for global corporations that care nothing for the well being of Americans,=.

  • Bill

    Boehner is an IDIOT and I could care less what will happen to him, I think he should be kicked out of Government for the damage he has done and the pain he has caused the people of this country. After everything these GOP ass holes are still spouting their shit, the country is tired of their LIES ! Take these ass holes off the news already, I’m sick of hearing their shit, and why isn’t the news fact checking all these irresponsible statements being made both GOP and DNC, report the truth instead of all the talking points, it used to be your JOB!

  • howa4x

    Moderate republicans have to stop being afraid of a tea party challenge and convince voters that extremism isn’t going to get anything done. The newest poll shows the majority of voters are in the middle and the minority are at the sides both left and right. The tea party only polls at 14% while the middle is 51%. Most of them are ok with same sex marriage, want background checks on guns, are ok with abortion but not after 3 months. This is the most effective look at who is the voter done. In a national election the tea party percentage is canceled out by the progressives by the same percentage, and right wing evangelicals are canceled out by left wing gospel. It is the middle that will win the next national election and if the republicans keep riding the tea party horse they will keep loosing, no matter how much Koch Money they have.

  • Pamby50

    Just watched Jack Kingston from Georgia say that it is still about getting rid of the ACA. They are living to fight again in Jan. They are also going after Medicare and Social Security. The dems gave in on the sequestration cuts to leave them be until Jan. This is all going to take place again in Jan & Feb.

  • mandinka

    an utter disaster for anyone who is 18 or younger. The dems have placed a $150,000 IOU in everyone of their pockets and they got nothing for it. Barak got $400B tax increase in Jan and offer not 1 pennies worth of spending cuts

    • Landsende

      Why are the teapublicans so concerned about the debt they say we are leaving our children but deny climate change and the devastating effect it will have on their future?

  • John Rivas

    Harry Reid acts like a spoiled child.