WASHINGTON -- In the summer of 2011, a debt crisis like the current one loomed.
Back then, President Barack Obama warned Republicans that older Americans might not get their Social Security checks unless there was a deal to raise the nation's borrowing limit.
After weeks of brinkmanship, Republicans consented and Obama agreed to a deficit-reduction plan the GOP wanted. Now there's a fresh showdown, and possible Social Security cuts - and more - are back on the table.
The government could run out of cash to pay all its bills in full as early as Feb. 15, according to one authoritative estimate, and Republicans want significant spending cuts in exchange for raising the borrowing limit.
Obama has pledged not to negotiate. Without an agreement, every option facing his administration would be unprecedented.