WASHINGTON (AP) - The battle over government debt goes today before the Senate, where Democrats will need to keep their expiring 60-vote majority intact to maintain the government's authority to borrow money.
In the face of monolithic Republican opposition, they'll need all 60 votes to raise the federal debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion. That would let the government continue borrowing almost 40 percent of what it spends.
The legislation would put the government on track for a national debt of $14.3 trillion - equal to about $45,000 for every American.
The 60 votes Democrats need include those of incumbents facing difficult re-election battles, as well as longtime opponents of raising the debt limit.
A losing vote could unnerve the stock market. Lawmakers in both parties have promised they won't permit a market-rattling, first-ever default on U.S. obligations.