TODAY   |  October 16, 2013

Congress rushes to extend credit limit

Congress has until midnight Wednesday to get a finalized piece of legislation to the President to extend the country’s borrowing limit. NBC’s Peter Alexander reports.

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>> end the shutdown is today's top story. let's get right to peter alexander at the white house . peter, what can you tell us?

>> reporter: good morning to you. most americans are asking themselves is it over yet? i just spoke to a top republican senate aid that said optimism abounds. but this is crunch time for congress now facing intense pressure to come up with a senate deal and get it approved before midnight tonight after house republicans plan to get this thing fixed imploded. it's down to the wire. with less than 24 hours to go the back and forth on capitol hill is enough to give you whiplash. with house republican's deal going nowhere, negotiators are back at the table. sending out nearly identical statements saying they're optimism a agreement can be reached. it's basically done one aid said. among those helping end the mess, the sisterhood of the senate. they put problem solving over partisanship. still, after more than two weeks wasted, congress needs to move fast. already the u.s.'s near perfect credit rating is in danger with fitch, it grades financial strength warning that investors america may not be able to pay what it owes blaming d.c.'s dysfunction. political brinkmanship can increase the risk of default.

>> what should americans be bracing for. they may not witness changes overnight?

>> we're talking about something so catstrophic.

>> they said it's like driving through the desert or empty and blowing past the only gas station in sight.

>> you'll run out of gas quickly and bad things will happen to you in the desert.

>> reporter: we lost this battle. after a shutdown that lasted 16 days , a shutdown lead by house republicans that wanted to undermine the president's new health care law , by the end of today, those republicans may leave with little to nothing to show for it.

>> peter alexander , thank you very