The origin of the U.S. debt ceiling

Nov 2, 2021
Congress is once again considering raising the debt limit. When did that start?
A sign at a Washington, D.C., bus stop showed the amount of the national debt on Oct. 25. The clock is ticking on another debt ceiling agreement to prevent a default.
Julie Chabanas/AFP via Getty Images

Can a platinum coin solve the debt-ceiling standoff?

Oct 7, 2021
A legal loophole could let The Treasury Department mint the money it needs to run the government
The logo of the US  Treasury Department is seen on the outside of the Treasury building in Washington on August 19, 2011.

What happens if we crash through the debt ceiling?

Oct 4, 2021
The Fed could buy defaulted Treasuries or swap Treasury bonds that weren’t in default for those that were.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks at a House hearing Thursday. Although the central bank has prepared for potential government defaults before, Powell warned lawmakers of the limits of the Fed's response.
Al Drago-Pool via Getty Images

What will happen if the U.S. blows through the debt limit?

Sep 27, 2021
The economy would be in uncharted — and dangerous — territory.
Clouds hang over the U.S. Capitol as senators complete the last votes of the week on Sept. 23.
Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The debt ceiling explained

Sep 24, 2021
If Congress fails to raise or suspend the debt limit, it won’t cause a government shutdown. But it could mean a failure to pay Social Security benefits and federal salaries. 
Storm clouds gather near the U.S. Capitol on Sep. 22, in Washington, D.C.
Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

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How did disaster aid get tangled up in the fight over the debt ceiling?

Sep 22, 2021
There are more disasters than Congress budgets for. And the federal fiscal year coincides with peak hurricane and wildfire season.
Important legislation is often slated for around the end of the fiscal year — which coincides with the worst period for hurricanes and wildfires.
Drew Angerer via Getty Images

The debt ceiling "dance" is coming up. How did it start?

Jun 16, 2021
A higher debt limit does not mean funding more government programs. It is paying for the bills already due.
Congress has until July 31 to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.
Zach Gibson via Getty Images

A two-year shutdown of government shutdowns?

Feb 8, 2018
Congress had to pass a budget bill to avoid a shutdown this week. It also had to lift the debt limit or risk the government running out of money in March. So lawmakers packaged the bills. But they aren’t just doubling up on legislation, they’re doubling down on the national debt.   Click the audio […]