The debt ceiling debate is like a mine field. Any way negotiators turn, explosive political issues lie just underneath the surface. New taxes are a nonstarter for the GOP, which Gerry Connolly (D-VA) says is an unrealistic position.
"I do believe everything should be on the table – everything," he says.
Democrats want to avoid big changes to entitlements. But as President Obama meets with Senate leaders today, rank and file Republicans, such as Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), want negotiators to go well beyond cutting just $2 trillion in spending.
"I think the cuts need to be deeper than they are suggesting if we are going to come out of this and have anything to give to our kids and our grandkids and our great grandkids," Bartlett says.
With the ideological positions firmly drawn, Jim Moran (D-Va.) offers this bleak assessment of the situation.
"I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel in these debt ceiling negotiations," he says.
If no deal is reached and the debt limit isn't raised, economists warn interest rates will go up, the stock market will go down, and so will the value of those dollar bills in everyone's pocket.