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 »
MORE DISAPPROVE OF COUNTRY’S DIRECTION
Trump Approval Rating Steady
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

According to a new CNN poll, "37% of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency, 57% disapprove—virtually identical to his marks in late September. But the percentage who say things in the country are going well has fallen from 53% in August to 46% now."

Source:
Doesn’t Express Confidence in Marino
Trump to Declare Opioid Emergency Next Week
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."

Source:
IN LIGHT OF 60 MINUTES REVELATIONS
Manchin Asks Trump to Drop Marino’s Nomination for Drug Czar
20 hours ago
THE LATEST
WOULD OVERTURN MARINO LEGISLATION ON DRUG DISTRIBUTORS
McCaskill Will Introduce Bill in Response to “60 Minutes” Scoop
20 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In the wake of Sunday's blockbuster 60 Minutes/Washington Post report on opioid regulation and enforcement, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has introduced legislation that "would repeal a 2016 law that hampered the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to regulate opioid distributors it suspects of misconduct." In a statement, McCaskill said: “Media reports indicate that this law has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities."

Source:
EVACUATION DRILL STARTS NEXT MONDAY
U.S. Military to Practice Evacuating Americans in S. Korea
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The United States military said on Monday that it would practice evacuating noncombatant Americans out of South Korea in the event of war and other emergencies, as the two allies began a joint naval exercise amid heightened tensions with North Korea. The evacuation drill, known as Courageous Channel, is scheduled from next Monday through Friday and is aimed at preparing American 'service members and their families to respond to a wide range of crisis management events such as noncombatant evacuation and natural or man-made disasters,' the United States military said in a statement."

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