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Debt ceiling talks stall amid political maneuvering

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Yahoo Finance's Jessica Smith details conflicts arising from Congressional party leadership reaching an agreement ahead of the debt ceiling deadline.

Video transcript

KARINA MITCHELL: Welcome back. It is crunch time for Congress with the debt limit looming. And lawmakers must act by Friday to keep the government funded and then have to deal later on with raising or suspending the debt ceiling before the country runs out of the ability to pay their debts, according to the Treasury Secretary. Jessica Smith joins us now with more on this story. It is the can that keeps getting kicked down the road. What are you hearing on any kind of movement?

JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, well, lawmakers are trying to negotiate a short-term deal. So another continuing resolution, also known as a CR, that would be to fund the government until sometime early next year. We're hearing possibly in January, though some are pushing for it to be a little bit later. The government is set to run out of money on Friday, at the end of the day Friday, so midnight on Saturday. There's really not much time left to get this done.

House leadership had hoped that it could have a vote on the deal at some point today. But at this point, there is no deal. Now, there's disagreement about the length of time that the CR should last. And there is some disagreement about policy items as well, including help for Afghan refugees. Lawmakers say they're still working on it.

Now, in order to get all of this done in time to avoid a shutdown at the end of the day on Friday, the Senate would have to move more quickly than usual. And that requires unanimous consent in the Senate. So every senator would have to agree to that. And there is a small number of conservative senators who might just throw all of that off. They are threatening, according to Politico-- Politico first reported this-- to let the funding expire at the end of the day on Friday, unless Democratic leaders agree to deny funding for President Biden's vaccine mandates.

Now that could mean the government would shut down on Friday for a few days, likely through the weekend, until Sunday or early next week. And again, this also depends on whether or not they can actually come to a deal. Now, Majority Leader McConnell did tell reporters today-- excuse me, Majority Leader Schumer did tell reporters today that he's hoping the small group of Republicans don't choose obstruction.

And then Minority Leader McConnell did say yesterday that the government won't shut down. He said today he thinks they'll be OK. We'll see if he convinces the senators to back off this plan. But again, they're still trying to agree on the terms of this short-term deal. We'll keep you updated if we hear anything more about coming to an agreement throughout the day.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: And Jess, before we let you go, what's the latest on the debt ceiling? I know that deadline is fast approaching.

JESSICA SMITH: Yeah, that's another thing lawmakers are still working on that deadline. As of right now, it looks to be roughly December 15. Schumer and McConnell are negotiating this one directly. They are having talks. They have not revealed much about what they're thinking or what they're working on here. But their talks reportedly are focused on a longer term lift of the debt ceiling here, maybe until after the midterms next year. But it's still unclear how exactly this is going to move forward.

You remember earlier this year when we had this same exact fight. Minority Leader McConnell said he would not let Republicans help Democrats raise the debt ceiling in any way. The Democrats should do this on their own. So we'll see if the two come to some sort of an agreement. They have said that they're hoping to come to a solution that both sides can live with.

KARINA MITCHELL: Let's hope they come to a solution quickly. Thank you, Yahoo Finance's Jessica Smith.

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