Nightly News   |  October 15, 2013

Hopes deteriorate for bipartisan compromise

As the possibility of a debt default looms on the horizon, Tea Party conservatives refuse to back down unless there are changes to Obamacare. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell reports.

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>>> be expected as the hour nears, but a major credit agency has put the credit rating of the united states of america on a negative ratings watch. just last night, we came on the air reporting that hopes were high for a deal, things were moving. that collapsed today in a pile of noise and hurt feelings in washington. the government has been shut down for 15 days. the debt ceiling deadline is just over 24 hours away now. the world is watching. and the financial markets are clearly watching. and profiles in courage are in short supply tonight in washington. we have it all covered, beginning again tonight with the sorry state of affairs in congress, kelly o'donnell has spent yet another day covering it all, good evening, kelly .

>> reporter: good evening, brian, confusion and paralysis are all i can say for sure now, the house had voted on a bill to reopen the government and prevent default, and quickly, scrap that, john boehner told the party they wouldn't go along. the senators tell me they don't know how it ends. how did we go from this just last night?

>> i'm very optimistic.

>> reporter: to this today.

>> and it is nothing more than a blatant attack on bipartisanship.

>> reporter: hopes were dashed on preventing a default on the good credit, when the house republicans rejected a compromise.

>> mr. speaker, can you guarantee to the american people congress will not go past the deadline and push us into default?

>> listen, i have made clear for months and months that the idea of default is wrong. and we shouldn't get anywhere close to it.

>> reporter: but time is running out fast, and the mood is so sour. that clergy sang hymns as they walked from one lawmaker's office to another, praying for a solution. behind these closed doors here at the basement of the capitol, the gop held their meeting. and that is when speaker boehner found out he didn't have enough republicans ready to make a deal. tea party conservatives wouldn't budge.

>> we have made it crystal clear to the american public that we stand with them on obama care.

>> reporter: democrats huddled at the white house today.

>> make no mistake, the bill the republicans are putting on the floor today is a decision to default.

>> reporter: why the urgency? congress sets a debt limit for how much the government can borrow, the current limit is $16.7 trillion, like ordinary americans do, the treasury department can keep moving money around to keep paying their bills even after they reach the limit. but they lose the ability to do that at midnight tomorrow night. and if congress fails to make a deal tomorrow, the country reachreach s default. nbc got a look at the situation tonight, and john mccain kept asking them to stop bashing speaker boehner to get a deal.

>> let's stop this, sit down, consider the speaker's proposal.

>> reporter: but at this point, the gop leadership doesn't have a proposal on the table. the president has been mostly watching from the sidelines, calling the gop strategy a border strategy. and senior administration officials say we are now at great risk of falling into that financial peril as we get closer to potential default.

>> running out of things to say and ways to describe it. kelly o'donnell from the hill tonight, starting us off.