Meridian Star

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October 8, 2013

The World in Brief

(Continued)

WORLD —

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Senate Democrats to try passing debt ceiling increase, challenging GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats controlling the Senate are planning to try to pass a stand-alone measure to increase the government's borrowing cap, challenging Republicans to a filibuster showdown that could unnerve financial markets as the deadline to a first-ever default on U.S. obligations draws closer.

A spokesman said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could unveil the measure as early as Tuesday, setting the table for a test vote later in the week. The measure is expected to provide enough borrowing room to last beyond next year's election, which means it likely will permit $1 trillion or more in new borrowing above the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling that the administration says will be hit on Oct. 17.

The development came as a partial shutdown of the government enters its second week with no end in sight.

It's not clear whether Reid's gambit will work. Republicans are expected to oppose the measure if it doesn't contain budget cuts to make a dent in deficits. The question is whether Republicans will filibuster the measure.

Until recently, debt limit increases have not been the target of filibusters; the first in memory came four years ago, when Democrats controlled the Senate with a filibuster-proof 60 votes.

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Supreme Court weighs lifting limits on overall giving by biggest campaign contributors

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is tackling a challenge to limits on contributions by the biggest individual donors to political campaigns.

The case being argued at the high court Tuesday is a test of the Roberts court's readiness to take its most aggressive swipe at campaign finance laws since its Citizens United decision in 2010 took the lid off independent spending by corporations and labor unions.

Supporters of campaign finance laws say the case poses a threat to the contribution limits that Congress first enacted in 1974, in the wake of Watergate abuses.

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