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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., leaves the House chamber after the House of Representatives passed the emergency legislation to avoid a government default a day before the deadline on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011.

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Senate takes up debt limit bill, passage likely

With just hours left before the national debt bumps against its ceiling, emergency bipartisan legislation to allow the government to borrow more faces one final test in the Senate. Expected passage there sends the bill to President Barack Obama, averting a potentially disastrous, first-ever government default and making a down payment toward taming out-of-control budget deficits.

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