US debt ceiling looms without agreement on healthcare plan

THE US congress is yet to reach an agreement over the looming debt ceiling, which will prevent the government from borrowing any more at midnight tonight.

Politicians are yet to find an agreement that would avoid the debt ceiling, with a dispute over the funding of President Barack Obama’s flagship healthcare policy still raging. Without a deal, the US treasury estimates that it can avoid defaulting for only two weeks.

The US congress, which has a Republican majority, voted for a continuing resolution that would avoid a government shutdown. But the bill includes an amendment that would delay funding for Obama’s healthcare plan, which the Democrat-controlled Senate will likely reject. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke cited “upcoming fiscal debates” that “may involved additional risks to financial markets and the broader economy” as part of the decision not to taper QE this month.