The U.S. Senate resumed debating a bill on Tuesday to widen the nation's debt ceiling and cut budget spending, as Congress prepares to vote on a plan agreed on Sunday.
The bill requires at least 60 votes to become law. Voting is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. EDT.
There are no guarantees that the bill, which calls for $2.1 trillion in spending cuts spread over 10 years and raises the borrowing limit by enough to last into 2013, will be passed, although Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have said they were cautiously optimistic. But they said not all their colleagues believed the draft is worth approval.
The bill overcame its biggest obstacle late on Monday, when the Republican-led House of Representatives passed the measure despite opposition from both conservatives, who wanted more spending cuts, and liberal Democrats angered by proposed hits to programs for the poor.
The plan, if approved, will also create a conciliatory commission of representatives of both houses, which will also look for ways to cut spending by another $1.5 trillion.
President Barack Obama had to concede his core demand, the end to tax privileges for the rich, to strike the deal with the Republicans.