A woman looks on at the U.S. Capitol in 2013 after the most recent government shutdown. Congress has made no progress toward avoiding a government shutdown when it will run out of funding Sept. 30. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

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Congress Quietly Extends The Budget — Past Election Day, Anyway
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House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (left), and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (right) were among the 28 Republicans whose votes made it possible for most other Republicans to vote against the debt ceiling hike. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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White House Details 2013 Cuts If Congress Doesn't Avert Fiscal Cliff
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Episode 273: When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt
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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

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