Debt Limit Showdown
By J. Sidney Malone
A political showdown is brewing in Washington that could have far-reaching consequences for the nation.
Republican members of Congress are threatening to cause a major financial crisis unless significant spending cuts are made.
They're refusing to raise the debt limit, which is the amount of money the federal government can borrow.
If the debt limit isn't raised, the government can't borrow any more money.
That means they might default on their debt and cause a massive disruption in financial markets.
The White House is urging Congress to act fast to avoid an economic catastrophe, and President Biden says he won’t negotiate on such a vital issue.
The deadline for raising the debt limit is estimated to be mid-June, when tax refunds start going out to citizens.
So the clock is ticking, and the country is watching anxiously to see if a resolution will be reached.
Jonathan Coppess, an Associate Professor of Law and Policy at the University of Illinois, has been through this before.
He served as the administrator of the federal Farm Services Agency during the last debt ceiling showdown in 2011, but he says this time is different.
Coppess doesn’t see an easy way out of the impasse and says the country will face impossible choices come June.
“Do we stop making social security payments do we stop paying for military?" said Coppess. "What is it that we don’t pay for? Because all these things are obligated.”
Until then, the country watches with bated breath to see if a resolution will be reached in Congress.