Greece's Parliament is expected to take a confidence vote on the country's political leadership at around 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday. The vote will not only decide the fate of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou; it will influence the fate of the European Union and the U.S. economic recovery.
If Papandreou gets voted out of office, Greece will be significantly less likely to implement the austerity measures that European financial ministers are demanding by July 3. If Greece does not authorize the required budget cuts, it could fail to secure bailout funding from Europe and face default. A default by Greece has the potential to trigger a chain reaction of European bank failures and government defaults, which would pose a threat to American banks' willingness to lend.
It seems more likely that Greece will be able to force through budget cuts in time to receive new bailout funding from Europe if Papandreou is able to stay in office. His new financial minister recently has taken a harder line on the budget to demonstrate the country's determination to meet Europe's demands.
Check back here for further updates on the situation in Greece.