Everything You Need to Know About the Debt Ceiling

In 39 slides.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens as President Barack Obama speaks to media in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Sept. 3, 2013.
National Journal
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Sept. 26, 2013, 6:29 a.m.

The debt ceil­ing is a ter­ri­fy­ing, con­fus­ing, amorph­ous mon­ster. But there’s a slide show that can at least give you everything you need to know about it.

We’re not even totally in the clear on a shut­down over fund­ing the gov­ern­ment, but Con­gress is already onto the next fisc­al crisis. Treas­ury Sec­ret­ary Jac­ob Lew sent a let­ter to Con­gress on Wed­nes­day say­ing that if Con­gress doesn’t act to raise the debt ceil­ing, the gov­ern­ment will be left with just $30 bil­lion in cash. “If we have in­suf­fi­cient cash on hand,” Lew wrote, “it would be im­possible for the United States of Amer­ica to meet all of its ob­lig­a­tions for the first time in our his­tory.”

This is something to be le­git­im­ately frightened about. House Re­pub­lic­ans, while they look as if they are get­ting ready to re­treat on the budget fight, are gear­ing up to go very, very hard on the debt lim­it. It’s im­possible for con­gres­sion­al lead­er­ship to say how this will end, much less your humble me­dia pro­gnost­ic­at­or.

But how ex­actly did we get here? And what ex­actly could we be look­ing at? The Bi­par­tis­an Policy Cen­ter has put to­geth­er a slide show with lit­er­ally any­thing you could pos­sibly want to know about the mech­an­ics of the debt lim­it, how the gov­ern­ment has been able to hold off on “ex­traordin­ary meas­ures” for this long, and why Oc­to­ber could be a fisc­al apo­ca­lypse.

The cen­ter, even after Lew’s let­ter, is pre­dict­ing that the U.S. gov­ern­ment will no longer be able to meet its fin­an­cial ob­lig­a­tions between Oc­to­ber 18 and Novem­ber 5. Here’s why.

What We're Following See More »
THROUGH AN INTERMEDIARY
Manafort Offered Russian Billionaire Briefings During Campaign
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions. Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said. 'If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,' Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email.

Source:
RAISE LATER THIS YEAR POSSIBLE
Interest Rates Don’t Change
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged and said Wednesday that it would begin to withdraw some of the trillions of dollars that it invested in the American economy after the 2008 financial crisis. The widely expected announcement reflected the Fed’s confidence in continued economic growth...most Fed officials predicted in a new round of economic forecasts that the Fed would increase rates later this year."

Source:
INCLUDES COMEY FIRING
Mueller Looking For White House Docs
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Special Counsel Robert Mueller "has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director...Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved 'great pressure' on him."

Source:
BUT WILL MCCAIN VOTE YES?
Graham-Cassidy to Get a Floor Vote Next Week
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
3.5M PEOPLE
All of Puerto Rico Without Power
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Hurricane Maria has knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico, home to 3.5m residents, emergency officials have said."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login