US Debt Ceiling Debacle
The US government has already been forced to partially shut down, after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled Senate failed to agree to pass a Federal budget. But now a far bigger threat looms: on Thursday, the US Treasury says that it will no longer be able to meet all of its bills, unless Congress agrees to raise the debt ceiling - the legal cap on how much it can borrow.
With all this in mind, the BBC's Andrew Walker headed to the US capital. He hears the views of ordinary voters, and speaks to one of the key protagonists in the dispute - "Tea Party" Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp.
Will the US default on its debts if it goes through the debt ceiling deadline without an agreement? What would be the consequences? Andrew asks two seasoned commentators for their takes on how the crisis will play out.
And he also hears a plea from the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, who warns that some of the world's poorest people could suffer if the US is forced into a default on its debts. And this at a time when Mr Kim claims we should be aiming to eradicate extreme poverty on the planet within our lifetimes.