Budget battle continues, lawmakers face deadline - New York News

Senator: We're hours away from possibly becoming a deadbeat nation

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WASHINGTON -

Facing a midnight deadline, the Senate is rushing to reach a debt ceiling and government funding agreement after the House failed in its effort.

We don't know what, exactly, is going to happen come midnight if there isn't a deal. It's possible that the Senate could still make something happen -- and there is some optimism, but this is going to be tight.

It's all down to the Senate now, but it will require some fast action to avert what the White House says will be a catastrophe as the clock strikes midnight.

"And beyond that point, we only have cash on hand available to pay our bills," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Another Democrat put it in much starker terms.

"We are 33 hours away from the possibility of the United States of America becoming a deadbeat nation, not paying its bills," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

And many of those 33 hours are now gone. 

House Republican leaders had to scuttle two proposals to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling because the Republican votes just weren't there.  And even if they were, Democrats said they would be blocked as some in the GOP continue to demand changes in Obamacare.

"All right, listen, raise the debt ceiling. Extend the CR, except demand, force the senate to take this vote that we will suspend the individual mandate as the president illegally did for businesses. And force them to take a vote," said Rep. Louie Gohmert on FOX News Channel's "The Kelly File."

The markets took a hit Tuesday as the credit rating agency Fitch warned that it was reviewing U.S. debt.

"They are looking at America's financial situation and express concern, but it is a warning, not a downgrade," said FOX Business' Stuart Varney on "The Kelly File."

A downgrade, though, is still possible.

For the moment, everything seems to rest on the shoulders of these two guys, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

They're optimistic they can get something done, but they don't have much time.

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