Washington (CNNMoney) - Congress must raise the debt ceiling before the end of February, and possibly sooner. If it doesn't, the United States risks defaulting on its payments to creditors.
That's the key takeaway from a new report released Tuesday by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Washington (CNN) - Congress on Thursday passed a measure to fund the federal government another two months, their last major legislative action before shutting down and returning to the campaign trail for the Nov. 2 elections.
The House voted 228-194 early Thursday morning and the Senate voted 69-30 on Wednesday to pass a stop-gap effort that effectively keeps the lights on at agencies and major federal programs until Dec. 3. The tab for the 64 days tops $219 billion, meaning the overall budget for the new fiscal year will be $219 billion lighter, a congressional aide explained.
The move marks Congress' second major accomplishment since returning from summer break in September. Congress also passed a bill giving tax breaks to small businesses. The Senate also confirmed two of three nominees to the Federal Reserve board of governors, a seven-member board which has been operating short by three members.
Washington (CNNMoney.com) - On a 69 to 30 vote, the Senate Wednesday approved a $219 billion measure to keep the government operating until December 3.
The bill would fund the budget just $9 billion shy of current levels, due to savings in Census Bureau funding and military base closings. Most other government agencies and programs will be funded at current rates.
Now the bill goes to the House, which is expected to vote later Wednesday.
If Congress doesn't pass the funding bill, the federal government would shut down on Friday, which is the first day of fiscal year 2011. And that would have been hard for lawmakers to defend when they leave town this weekend to campaign for the November 2 midterm elections.