JUNEAU -- Alaska's U.S. senators split on whether to consider a House-passed bill requiring steep spending cuts and passage of a balanced budget amendment to increase the nation's debt limit.
Democratic Sen. Mark Begich voted with the majority Friday in blocking the legislation. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted for debate.
Aug. 2 has been identified as the date by which the government will exhaust its ability to borrow money and pay its bills. Murkowski and Begich have said it would be disastrous if the debt ceiling isn't raised. Murkowski said there are parts of the House bill she doesn't support but said the Senate should have debated it. Begich's spokeswoman said Begich didn't think that bill was balanced and sees the range of proposals being floated as evidence that compromise is possible.