NATIONAL DEBT/STEVE MNUCHIN/TREASURY: “Republicans are leaving town for an August recess after a failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. When they return in September, they’ll have just 12 working days to avert another big problem.
In a letter to lawmakers Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the federal borrowing limit, or debt ceiling, needed to be raised by Sept. 29 or the government risked running out of money to pay its bills.
The Treasury Department has been employing cash-conservation measures since March, when borrowing hit the formal ceiling of nearly $20 trillion. Those measures are expected to run out in early to mid-October. When they do, the government won’t have money to pay interest on debt, write Social Security checks or make millions of other routine payments, unless it can tap credit markets for borrowing to raise additional cash. Missing payments could send financial markets in a tailspin.
Lawmakers have managed to resolve bitter feuds over the debt limit before. But markets are starting to reflect angst about Washington’s ability to navigate a new showdown given the challenges Republicans have had reaching common ground on issues like health care. Lawmakers leave town with no clear strategy for managing the complex politics around raising the limit when they return.”
-Kate Davidson, “Next Up for GOP Congress: Raising the Debt Ceiling,” The Wall Street Journal online, July 30, 2017 12:46pm