By Niall Stanage - 12/19/11 10:15 AM EST
THE DEBT-CEILING DEBATE
The biggest Capitol Hill story of the year, and a farrago from which no one emerged covered in glory.
Obama missed the chance to lock the GOP into a debt-ceiling agreement when he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts at the end of last year. That left him in a conspicuously weak spot over the summer as the need to extend the Treasury’s borrowing capacity loomed.
If the debt-ceiling issue was a de facto defeat for Obama it was hardly a clear victory for Republicans. The more doctrinaire members of the GOP conference also had to confront the consequences of their beliefs, in terms of the automatic military-spending cuts that are to be triggered in the wake of the supercommittee’s failure.
Here are The Hill’s choices for the 10 most important political stories of the year: