Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane
October 16, 2013
A campaign to persuade House Republicans to lift the federal debt limit collapsed in humiliating failure Tuesday, leaving Washington careering toward a critical deadline just two days away, with no clear plan for avoiding a government default.
Senate leaders quickly moved to pick up the pieces, saying they were “optimistic” that they could reach agreement to advance an alternative proposal that would raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and end a government shutdown, now in its third week.
But it was unclear whether a deal struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could pass the Senate before the Treasury Department exhausts its borrowing power Thursday.
Meeting that deadline would be impossible if Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) or other conservative hard-liners chose to throw up roadblocks, Democrats said. Republican leaders were leaning on Cruz and his allies to avoid unnecessary delays.
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