Countdown to Debt Ceiling Crisis

Congress is sowing the seeds of a debt ceiling crisis: If lawmakers don’t raise the limit on federal borrowing soon, they will put the nation at risk of defaulting on some of its legal obligations.

When exactly? Much has been made of Oct. 17 as the drop-dead date. But that’s not quite right.  And here’s why.

The country reached the debt ceiling in May. Since then the Treasury Department has been using special accounting measures to keep borrowing just under the limit.   But Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said those will run out no later than Oct. 17.


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