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The U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up the debt-ceiling deal at noon Tuesday, as lawmakers stare down the deadline for the government to face possible default.

The House on Monday passed the package on a 269-161 vote, overcoming opposition from liberal Democrats and tea party conservatives for ideologically different reasons.

One of those supporting the plan was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, who cast her first House vote since being shot in the head in an assassination attempt in January. She received an emotional ovation when she entered the chamber.

Giffords returns to emotional applause

The agreement reached Sunday by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders from both parties calls for up to $2.4 trillion in savings over the next decade, raises the debt ceiling through the end of 2012 and establishes a special congressional committee to recommend long-term fiscal reforms.

The legislation needs to reach Obama’s desk on Tuesday. If the current $14.3 trillion debt limit is not increased by that point, Americans could face rapidly rising interest rates, a falling dollar and shakier financial markets, among other problems.

All of those factors could influence the government’s credit rating, which is why the Treasury Department has been briefing the agencies that rate U.S. debt about the finer points of the package, a senior administration official told CNN.

If Wall Street doesn’t like what it hears, the United States could face a downgrade in its creditworthiness.

A number of Republicans worried about cuts in defense spending and the lack of a required balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. Progressive Democrats were livid over the extent of the deal’s domestic spending cuts, as well as the absence of any immediate tax hikes on wealthier Americans.

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article courtesy of CNN.com

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