House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow Republicans could give President Obama the clean debt ceiling increase he wants but not for the reasons the president wants it. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Speaker of the House John Boehner during a news conference with members of the House Republican leadership at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday morning. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner shows his softer side Thursday before resuming his tough guy role in the fiscal fight. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Evan Vucci/AP

Despite all the warning signs, U.S. leaders continue to barrel toward a debt default with no one yet willing to step on the brakes. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio (right) leads members of Congress as they step outside the Capitol on Wednesday to attend a ceremony in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. With him are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP

As workers prepare the Capitol for Monday's inaugural ceremony, there's word that Congress might not get into another battle over the debt ceiling. Kevin Dietsch /UPI /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Kevin Dietsch /UPI /Landov

You'd need a lot of these — think in terms of railroad cars to haul them — to have $1 trillion. Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov

Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating Friday will play a role in President Obama's political future. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Carolyn Kaster/AP