The federal budget's days as a political weapon may be numbered.
But a sweeping tax and spending deal, negotiated by the White House and leaders of the House and Senate and approved by the House on Wednesday, still must pass the Senate.
At Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate, Sen. Rand Paul promised to block the two-year deal, which is supposed to avert another default to keep the government running into 2017.
"I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it," he said. "And I ask everyone in America to call Congress tomorrow and say enough is enough; no more debt."
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With the government down to less than a week's worth of cash, Congress is once again on the brink of letting the Treasury default on trillions of dollars in public debt. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said a default could come as early as Tuesday. Three years ago, a similar move cost the U.S. its triple-A credit rating, the first such downgrade in 70 years.
A deal announced Monday would suspend the limit on the government's borrowing authority, now maxed out at $18.1 trillion. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 would also provide some $80 billion in new spending on defense and discretionary programs, make changes to Social Security and Medicare and raise some revenues through the sale of broadcast spectrum and some of the government's crude oil stockpiles.