WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Treasury Department is warning Congress that the US is just a few days away from hitting the debt ceiling. This creates the possibility of a collision as lawmakers decide how to raise the country’s debt limits.
On Friday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that on Thursday, January 19, the US will reach its debt limit.
“America sometimes hits the debt ceiling over time because it’s like a credit card limit,” Congressman Steve Scalise said.
Once that happens, the clock will start ticking for lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling or put the country at risk of default. A default could trigger a global financial crisis.
“The debt ceiling should never be something we play with. It’s too dangerous,” Congressman Brendan Boyle said.
Many Republicans argue that it doesn’t make financial sense to simply keep raising the limit. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy insists the country needs a better spending plan.
“When will it end? We must change the way we waste money in this country,” McCarthy said.
Republican control of the House gives them more bargaining power. They say they will only accept an increase in debt if it comes with spending cuts.
Congressman Chip Roy vowed that he would not back down until the US was on a more financially responsible path.
“I intend to use the debt ceiling to secure fiscal and structural reforms,” Roy said.
Democrats fear this will mean cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare. Congressman Richard Neal said they should start negotiations.
“It’s better to discuss it right now, let’s set the table. Let’s move on to the debate,” Neil said.
Speaker McCarthy said he had already raised the issue with President Biden.
“I told him I wish I could sit down with him early and sort out these issues,” McCarthy said.
Once the US hits the debt ceiling, lawmakers will likely only have this summer before the country defaults.