As Democratic leaders reminded the public often last week, raising the debt ceiling has historically been a relatively routine procedure. As this graphic shows, Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling 10 times in the past 10 years. That logic, of course, made Republicans and penny-pinchers in the tea party all the wearier of raising it again. Cuts will be made to balance the latest $2.4 trillion rise in the ceiling, but the faltering economy and the decisions of Congress’s deficit-reducing super committee could spike efforts to keep the debt down. What does all this mean? The sequel to everyone’s least favorite cliff-hanger may begin production in 2013 or even 2012.
Latest cover story: "The Cabal That Quietly Took Over the House " -- For 40 years, the Republican Study Committee has prized ideological purity over partisan loyalty. That mindset now dominates the GOP.Read this and all of the stories in the latest magazine.