With the federal government poised to default on its debts at midnight tonight and no deal reached Tuesday by the House of Representatives, lawmakers are hopeful that Senate leaders can broker a deal that House Speaker John Boehner will approve, CNN reported.
Legislators dropped hints on their way home Tuesday that Senate leaders will present a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the partially shuttered government. A Republican member of the House is holding out hope that Boehner could break with a Republican tradition to put that deal on a fast track.
"I believe that John Boehner will likely be in a position, where he will have to essentially pass the bill that is negotiated between Sens. (Mitch) McConnell and (Harry) Reid," said Republican Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania.
But another Republican, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, says GOP lawmakers intend to stand tough to save the country from what they consider to be out-of-control spending. And that midnight deadline to raise the nation's self-imposed borrowing limit? Not that big of a deal, he told CNN's "New Day."
"I don't actually believe it's a hard break tomorrow," King said. "It's a date they picked on the calendar."
Fitch Ratings Inc. warned on Tuesday it could cut the sovereign credit rating of the United States from AAA, citing the political brinkmanship over raising the federal debt ceiling.
"Although Fitch continues to believe that the debt ceiling will be raised soon, the political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default," the firm said in a statement.
Fitch put its opinion about the creditworthiness of U.S. government debt on what it calls Ratings Watch Negative, a reflection of the increasing risk of a near-term default if the debt limit is not raised in time. The company gave itself until the end of the first quarter of 2014 to decide whether it will actually cut the rating.
If no deal is reached to extend the debt ceiling, beginning Thursday the government will have to pay the country's incoming bills and other legal obligations with an estimated $30 billion in cash, plus whatever daily revenue comes in, CNN reported.
The expectation is that Treasury Department will be able to pay bills in full for a short time after Thursday. Just how long isn't known. According to the best outside estimates, the first day the department will run short of cash to pay what's due could come between Oct. 22 and Nov. 1.