U.S. at Risk of Losing Top AAA Credit Rating

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WASHINGTON -- For years, America's credit rating has been the world standard. But with mounting debt and deficit spending, the country is at risk of losing that rating, which could affect the economic recovery.

Last month, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., shut down the Senate with his one-man filibuster in an attempt to bring attention to federal spending.

Now, there is even more reason to be concerned.

The U.S. along with the United Kingdom, according to a new report, are substantially closer to losing their AAA credit ratings because of mounting debt, which now stands at nearly $12.6 trillion in the U.S.

The AAA rating for U.S. Treasury bonds is the highest possible rating and have been held by the U.S. since 1949. It also helps lenders determine whether the borrower is good to pay back a loan.

The downgrade would not only hurt America's pride, it would also affect economic recovery from the biggest recession since the Great Depression.

The White House has set up a commission to help bring down the debt by targeting government spending.

"We won't be able to bring down this deficit over night, given that the recovery is still taking hold and families across the country still need help," President Obama said.

The concern comes on top of news from the Treasury Department that China -- the largest holder of U.S. debt -- trimmed back its holdings for the third month in a row, dipping its total holdings from just under $890 billion.

Japan, the second largest foreign holder, also cut back its holdings down to $764 billion.

Lawmakers hope to bolster the U.S. economic image, pledging to pass financial reforms this year. Those laws may be easier to deliver than health care which currently has Washington tied up in knots.

However, even health care reform plays a part in this debate.

Supporters said the reform legislation is fully paid for and would cost about $1 trillion over 10 years.

But a new report by the Heritage Foundation revealed that implementing those reforms would bring the total closer to $2.5 trillion, making the outlook for the budget and debt even worse.

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