What is the debt ceiling and why are politicians arguing?
BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – Every few years there is a fight in Washington over the debt ceiling. While Democrats and Republicans disagree on whether to raise it, many wonder what the debt ceiling is and why we have it.
The federal government operates on a credit system, which means it is allowed to borrow money to meet its financial obligations. Because the United States spends more than it earns on taxes and other forms of income, it has to borrow large sums of money to pay its bills.
According to the Constitution, Congress must authorize federal government borrowing. Think of government spending like a credit card.
âEssentially it’s about extending your credit on a credit card, that’s basically what a debt limit is. And of course, the more Congress allows spending, the more we usually have to extend our credit card because we haven’t been particularly tax-prudent in the last 20 years, âsaid Greta Van Susteren, Legal Analyst and host of Full Court. Hurry.
Raising the debt ceiling was routine. But, as is often the case in Washington these days, politicians are at odds over raising the debt ceiling. Democrats want Republicans to vote with them, or at least allow them to raise the debt ceiling themselves.
âThe Republicans have chosen to actively obstruct. Again, we are not asking Republicans to support raising the debt ceiling. If they want to prevent payments from going to veterans and social security recipients, be our guest. We are simply asking Republicans to step aside, âSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Republicans, meanwhile, believe that as Democrats prepare to pass trillion-dollar legislation in the coming weeks, they should be solely responsible for raising the debt ceiling.
“There is no way the Republican Conference will do everything possible to help Democrats save their time and energy so that they can resume partisan socialism as quickly as possible,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
If the nation defaults on its loans, experts say it could cause something bordering on “economic catastrophe.”
The national debt currently stands at over twenty-eight trillion dollars. The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates that the Treasury will run out of cash between October 15 and November 4.
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