The Democratic-controlled Senate blocked a debt-ceiling bill that passed the GOP-led House of Representatives earlier in the evening.
Majority Leader Harry Reid is planning to spend the weekend pushing what top Democrats insist is a more centrist piece of legislation.
In the House vote, Speaker John Boehner's bill was approved 218-210. No Democrats supported the measure, and 22 of the 240 Republicans also opposed it.
The White House issued a statement calling Boehner's bill "yet another political exercise" and endorsing Reid's plan as a basis for compromise.
If Congress fails to raise the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by Tuesday, Americans could face rising interest rates and a declining dollar, among other problems.
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