The Treasury Department is now warning that the statutory debt limit could be reached sooner than originally predicted and wants Congress to address the issue by the end of July, before it adjourns for the entire month of August. If the debt ceiling is reached, the federal government will no longer be able to borrow money and won’t be able to pay all its bills. A federal default would risk serious economic consequences for the country.
Policymakers also face a September 30 deadline to approve government spending bills to avert a shutdown when the new fiscal year begins on October 1. The appropriations process has been slow moving and full of pitfalls in recent years. It got off to an especially late start this year.
The federal budget and spending process suffers from a number of problems. Adding more to the plate only makes it more likely that there will be delays and other difficulties.
Each of these matters provides an opportunity to help fix the debt. They also illustrate how high and rising national debt is complicating our ability to address important issues.
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