Can Washington Make a Debt Deal? Live Chat Today at 2pm ET

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After the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, America stood on the brink of another economic calamity — except this crisis, the threat of the “Fiscal Cliff,” was self-imposed by our government.

Why would Congress need to create a “fiscal suicide vest” to force a deal on America’s debt and deficit problems?

In Cliffhanger, FRONTLINE traces how a clash of politics and personalities has led to one of the most bitter high-stakes standoffs in modern American history – and prevented the compromise necessary to resolve it.

The gridlock can be traced in part to the election in 2010 of a new class of GOP freshman, “spear carriers” on a mission to slash spending, cut taxes and resist compromise with the Obama administration at every turn. But they’ve also resisted compromise with members of their own party — most notably Speaker John Boehner, who pushed for more concessions on taxes than the insurgent Republicans were willing to give.

Why did Boehner, a policymaker with over two decades of experience in Washington, have such a difficult time corralling his party? Will his recent purge of committee chairs make a difference? And as more debt crisis deadlines loom — who is to blame for getting us here? Can we get back from the brink? Is there any future left for bipartisanship on Capitol Hill?

Producers Mike Wiser and Jim Gilmore have spent months talking with Washington insiders and leading political journalists to investigate these questions. Now, we’ve invited them to take yours.

They’ll be joined by veteran Washington Post political reporter Lori Montgomery, who has reported extensively on the debt standoff, as well our guest questioner Chris Cillizza, a reporter at the Washington Post and lead blogger for The Fix. Follow him on Twitter here.

You can leave a question in the chat window below, and come by on Wednesday at 2pm. ET to join the live discussion.

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