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With each passing day, odds rise that congressional inaction could lead to a government shutdown, but that's not the biggest worry Washington has dealt markets.
Congress has a Monday deadline to approve a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded for a short time, while Congress debates the thornier issue of whether to raise the debt ceiling. The Treasury Department has said the $16.7 trillion debt limit will be reached in mid-October, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew Tuesday warned the government has less cash on hand than anticipated and there is no plan in place to pay all bills once the threshold is hit.
Analysts handicapping the outcome say it's likely the continuing resolution will be passed at crunch time Monday, but the last minute battling may make for choppy markets as traders watch the level of acrimony as a gauge of how debt ceiling talks might go. The government has never defaulted, but the last debt ceiling battle was nasty and resulted in Standard and Poor's cutting the U.S. AAA credit rating.
(Read more: Spending showdown averted for now)
"To me, the market should be more worried about the debt ceiling," said Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Potomac Research. "I think there will be a deal (on the continuing resolution). There was a little olive branch, or there will be one from (Senate Majority leader) Harry Reid to the House that will be going along with a lower spending level."