Heads up: Top comment and controversy

US debt ceiling: What's going on? And what are the papers saying?

Fears that America will default on its debts were soothed this morning as Senate leaders neared a deal that would raise the US debt ceiling, avoiding a potentially catastrophic blow to the global financial system.

Senators were also approaching an agreement that would allow the furloughed employees of the US Government to return to work and end the shutdown.

However, a sticking point has emerged insofar as Republicans in the House of Representatives have agreed on the concessions they want made to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which include a provision to suspend a tax on medical devices.

Their proposal is viewed as a last-gasp attempt to influence the agreement that would end the shutdown and avoid a default.

What are the papers saying?

CNN's Lateef Mungin points out that more than Senate co-operation is needed. House Republicans must agree to any bill passed by the Senate:

"No matter what the Senate agrees to, the House also must agree for this to get to the finish line. It's not at all clear that conservatives in the House will sign onto a proposal they dislike.

"Some still want to pass a bill with major changes to Obamacare, not merely the minor ones reportedly included in the Senate plan under discussion, and many are committed to spending reforms and are looking for a long-term deal to lock in those changes."

Looking further down the line is Paul Krugman, at the New York Times:

"Our current state of dysfunction looks like a chronic condition, not a one-time event.

"Even if the debt ceiling is raised enough to avoid immediate default, even if the government shutdown is somehow brought to an end, it will only be a temporary reprieve.

"Conservative activists are simply not willing to give up on the idea of ruling through extortion, and the Obama administration has decided, wisely, that it will not give in to extortion."

These tortuous negotiations could be bad for the GOP, adds Catalia Camia at USA Today:

"Everyone is mad at the political players in the federal government shutdown, but a new poll by ABC News/Washington Post shows Republicans are taking more heat than President Obama or congressional Democrats.

"A whopping 74% of Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans are handling the budget negotiations, according to the survey released Monday."

React Now

  • Get to the point
Read Next
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Queen Elizabeth II with members of the Order of Merit  

Either the Queen thinks that only one in 24 Britons are women, or her Order of Merit is appallingly backward

Janet Street-Porter
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...