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Weekend Discussions May Help Move the Needle on Debt Ceiling Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC -- We're now two weeks into a government shutdown and politicians in Washington are running out of time to avoid hitting the debt ceiling and defaulting on loans.
WASHINGTON, DC -- We're now two weeks into a government shutdown and politicians in Washington are running out of time to avoid hitting the debt ceiling and defaulting on loans. 

Angry veterans tossed aside barricades to get into the World War II memorial on the National Mall as part of a Tea Party rally led by Sarah Palin and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who helped lead the fight against Obamacare which contributed to the shutdown.

"Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?" asked Cruz.

The latest hope to avoid a u.S. Default and end the government shutdown now appears to rest on talks between senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.

"Our discussions were substantive and we'll continue those discussions," said Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority Leader.

Their impass is largely over automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.  Republicans want larger cuts.  Democrats want to undo the reductions.

"Look, neither Democrats or nor Republicans like the sequester," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), during an appearance on "Face the Nation". "The dispute has been how to undo sequester."

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  and others are embracing a solution offered by a bipartisan group of senators that would keep budget cuts in place, fund the government for six months, and raise the debt ceiling through January.

"We sparked a dialogue that did not exist before we put out a plan," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), on CNN's "State of the Union".

If both sides can't compromise - the Treasury Department says it will no longer have the authority to borrow money to pay bills.  As of this Thursday, the government would have $30-billion in its checking account.

"We don't run out of money in that moment, but investors are going to be really nervous.  Stocks will likely go down.  Bonds will likely go down," explains Jill Schlesinger, CBS News business analyst.

Consumer confidence dropped last week and there is concern those feelings could extend through the holiday shopping season.

(Susan McGinnis, CBS News)

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