On Shaky Ground

By Steve Handelsman

Published 02/03 2014 03:58PM

Updated 02/03 2014 04:04PM

(NBC News) Frigid winter weather has cooled off the U.S. economy, and it's put more pressure on officials in Washington to avoid anything that would make matters worse.

Washington was watching Wall Street Monday, and saw another sharp drop in stock prices after bad news on manufacturing.

January saw a slowdown after a drop in new orders, and construction spending is reported down as well.

January's deep freeze is partly to blame.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the best move by Congress is to hike the debt ceiling this week.

"What we can't do is, we cannot for a moment accept the notion that for the first time since 1789 the United States would not pay its bills in full," Lew says.

Recent history makes a deal more likely.

After the government shutdown that most voters blamed on Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner has rejected more Tea Party Brinksmanship.

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