BUDGET/NATIONAL DEBT/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Republicans are considering tying a must-pass increase in the federal debt limit to funding for a program that lets military veterans get medical care outside of Veterans Affairs facilities, people familiar with the idea said.
The legislative move, still in the early stages of discussion on Capitol Hill, would let Republicans claim a policy victory while raising the federal borrowing cap.
The federal government has already hit the debt limit, which had been suspended until March and was then reset at $19.8 trillion. The Treasury Department is using so-called ‘extraordinary measures’ or emergency cash-conservation steps, to pay the government’s bills for now. The government’s ability to use those tools is expected to run out in early-to-mid-October, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The Treasury Department’s cash balance, however, could drop to very low levels in early September, which this spring prompted warnings about potentially raising the debt limit before the August congressional recess.
Without an increase, the government would start missing promised payments, such as interest on the national debt, paychecks for federal workers and benefits for recipients of Social Security and other programs. The administration has urged Congress to act quickly.”
-Richard Rubin, Nick Timiraos, and Kristina Peterson, “GOP May Tie Debt-Limit Increase to Veterans Bill,” The Wall Street Journal online, July 14, 2017 12:47pm