Default looms as shutdown continues

Press Association
US Capitol
US Capitol

The United States moved closer to a default that could seriously harm the economy and a partial government shutdown entered its third week as Senate Democratic and Republican leaders remained at odds over spending in their last-ditch negotiations to end the crises gripping the nation.

Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke by phone on Sunday but failed to agree on a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority above the 16.7 trillion dollar debt limit. Separately, they also could not agree on a plan to reopen a government still shuttered on its 14th day. Congress is racing against the clock, with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warning that the US will quickly exhaust its ability to pay the bills on Thursday.