House Republicans pushed toward a vote Thursday on a newly modified plan to stave off an unprecedented government default next week, even though the legislation faces a White House veto threat and unanimous opposition among Senate Democrats.
The vote comes amid growing worry that a dysfunctional Congress might remain gridlocked and plunge the nation into default. Nervous investors sent the Dow Jones industrial average down almost 200 points Wednesday, on top of a 92-point drop the day before. Stocks rose modestly Thursday, based in part on a strong jobs report.
"Default will rock our financial system to its core," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said at the start of the Senate session.
The rival plans by Reid and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, have enough in common - including the establishment of a special congressional panel to recommend additional spending cuts this fall - that Reid has hinted a compromise could be easy to snap together.
"Magic things can happen here in Congress in a very short period of time under the right circumstances," Reid told reporters.