As fears continue to rise about the U.S. defaulting if lawmakers fail to hash out a plan to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, concerns are also escalating about a potential downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.
Rating agencies - Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch - analyze risk and give debt a "grade" that reflects the borrower's ability to pay the underlying loans.
The U.S. has had the highest credit rating, AAA, since Moody's began assigning ratings in 1917. However, this may change in the near future.
Paul La Monica, assistant managing editor for CNN Money, joins Ali Velshi today on American Morning to weigh in on what a downgrade would mean in terms of U.S. Treasuries, the U.S. consumer and the overall economy.