The political and economic ramifications are too big for Washington to let the large tax increases and spending cuts take effect. But this doesn't necessarily mean lawmakers will craft a decisive solution to the nation's fiscal woes.
After raising millions of dollars to boost a centrist candidate for president, the nonprofit Americans Elect has given up. But there's more involved than just a nation unready for a third party.
S&P downgraded its credit rating for US debt Friday, citing a lack of congressional leadership to find compromise on deficit reduction. Somewhat ominously, congressional leaders responded to the news with partisan shots.
The haggling over the national debt-ceiling deal exposed a growing issue for Congress: the influence of ideological pledges is limiting prospects for compromise.
Even as both parties cite the need for progress on the budget, the partisan sniping is becoming unusually personal. Could markets get the jitters if the rancor lasts up to the debt ceiling deadline?
The House and the Senate are in session simultaneously only a few days between now and Aug. 2, when the US is expected to hit its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. That's not helpful, experts say.
'Gang of Six' deficit-cutting negotiators in the Senate are mum after rumors of entitlement cuts and tax code reform nearly derailed talks. Still, a short-term budget accord this week did manage to avert a government shutdown.