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

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.
Pay and hours are at the core of the unionization efforts.
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

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 […]

Is tying Harvey disaster relief to the debt ceiling opportunistic?

Linking the two could make raising the debt limit more palatable to Congress, but it puts off a painful conversation about spending cuts.
 Rain from Hurricane Harvey falls on a Texas and U.S. flag on Aug. 26, 2017, in Texas City, Texas.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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Weekly Wrap: Paul Ryan, debt limit and interest rates

Oct 23, 2015
Sudeep Reddy and Nela Richardson join Kai Ryssdal to recap the week that was.

House lifts debt ceiling. What does it mean?

Feb 12, 2014
The House voted to increase to the government’s borrowing limit

Stumped by the debt ceiling? Here's an explainer

Feb 7, 2014
Basically, Congress appropriates money for projects and programs, then lawmakers have to give the executive branch permission to pay those bills.

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