Senate faces key federal budget vote

The U.S. Capitol and U.S. Senate chamber are shown in Washington, D.C.

Adriene Hill: The Senate has a key vote today -- whether to shut down the government or not. OK, it's not exactly that simple -- they're trying to agree on a short-term funding bill. But if they don't, we're stuck with a partial government by the end of the week. The worst part is, this should be the easy part.

Our New York bureau chief Heidi Moore reports.


Heidi Moore: Breaking news -- we have gridlock in Washington. If that seems like a story you heard before, it is. In fact, you heard it in April, when the deficit fight heated up, and again in August, when Congressional dysfunction brought the country within 10 hours of being unable to pay its bills.

James Lucier is a managing director with Capital Alpha Partners in Washington. He sees a pattern here.

James Lucier: It tells you that Congress is really perched on a knife's edge. They're really not ready to make a lot of fundamental decisions that have to do with finances.

That's bad news, because there are a lot of those decisions waiting to be made before next year's Presidential election.

Lucier: We could be going through a budget crunch, another debt ceiling crunch, the Supreme Court issuing its decision on the president's health care plan. So if you think we've had a busy summer, wait until you see what comes up over the New Year and through next summer.

For the politicians, the gridlock is part of a struggle for survival. Unfortunately, it's the same for the economy.

In New York, I'm Heidi Moore for Marketplace.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.

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