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Debt-ceiling compromise: What happens next

Here's how Congress is likely to proceed.

August 01, 2011

Now that negotiators have found a debt-ceiling compromise, several hurdles remain:

The bill is pending in the Senate, but negotiators might decide to have the House vote first on an entirely new bill. Both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are expected to oppose it, but leaders hope a coalition in the center will deliver a majority.

If the compromise faces a Senate filibuster, supporters will need at least 60 votes to invoke cloture and end debate.

Once cloture passes, 30 hours of additional debate are required before a vote on final passage unless all 100 senators agree to vote sooner. Final passage would require 51 votes.

If the Senate passed the bill, it would go to the House – or vice versa.

A short-term extension of the $14.3-trillion debt ceiling may be needed because the Treasury is expected to begin running out of money to pay its bills by midnight Tuesday. Some experts think the government could get through a few more days, however.

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