Get your debt clocks here! (See below)
The first test of whether Republicans will mean what they say: For the first time, they will get to vote on a clean bill to raise the federal debt ceiling, a vote that's usually buried in some must-pass piece of legislation. (Story is here.)
Failure to increase the debt ceiling could lead to a "government shut-down" since it could no longer borrow money to pay its expenses, like it usually does. This practice has given us a debt limit of almost $14.3 trillion, which could be reached this coming spring.
House Minority Leader (soon to be House speaker) John Boehner (R-Ohio) is handing his cohorts this challenge/opportunity to take the first of many tough steps needed to set the federal budget in order. Or to prove themselves hypocrites.
Democrats are licking their chops that Republicans are true to their word so that they can claim that the Republicans shut down the government, just like they shaved the truth when they refused to go along with former President Bill Clinton's agenda in the 1990s.
Want to see what the federal debt is and watch the numbers spin past. This is a fantastic link, showing not just the debt but government spending, interest on the debt, links to state debt clocks and much, much more. The Illinois debt clock is here.