After S&P downgraded long-term U.S. credit two years ago, investors sold stocks but continued to buy longer-term U.S. Treasurys.
Despite uncertainty over whether the government will maintain its authority to borrow, investors have continued to pour money into long-term Treasurys. The yield on the 10-year note has remained stable at slightly above 2.7 percent, a sign that investors still believe the U.S. government will repay its longer-term debt.
The U.S. government has never intentionally failed to pay its debts. That's why investors consider Treasurys the safest and most liquid investments in times of uncertainty. Treasurys are also denominated in dollars, the main currency used by central banks and financial institutions around the world.
Lawmakers spent most of Tuesday trying to reach an agreement to give Treasury authority to borrow and avoid an eventual default.
House Republicans pushed for passage of legislation late Tuesday that would allow the Treasury to borrow normally until early February and end a 15-day partial government shutdown at least until Dec. 15.
While the House readied for a possible Tuesday night vote, the immediate result was to impose a daylong freeze on Senate negotiations on a bipartisan compromise.