Federal debt ceiling in question again

Federal debt ceiling in question again

Campbell Hight

Imagine, the world is on the brink of catastrophe, and you have the power to stop it. That is the situation that our Congress finds itself in, and they have been unable, or perhaps unwilling, to act. 

Right now, the United States Federal Government is rapidly approaching the debt ceiling, or the amount of debt that the federal government can legally accumulate. The debt ceiling was raised from 2.5 trillion to 31.38 trillion in 2021. The US hit that new limit on January 19 of this year. In order to prevent a default on American credit, the treasury department is taking “extraordinary measures” to push the date back till June 9, 2023.

For reference, a default on American credit would likely cause a recession, raising interest rates, plummeting the stock market, and would result in an estimated six million lost jobs. A default would also mean the government couldn’t pay the salaries of government employees, including the military, as well as social security benefits. These effects would be felt worldwide and permanently harm the United States’ place on the world stage.

So, how do we prevent this from happening? Simply raise the debt ceiling. However, our Congress has yet to make any progress on this front. 

Our Congress is possibly the most fractured it has ever been after taking fifteen ballots to elect a Speaker of the House, the most since before the Civil War. Now, when they are faced with an issue that would affect every American citizen, they are unable to reach an agreement. 

House Republicans have said they are willing to raise the debt ceiling only if budget reductions are made. Many Republican representatives ran on the platform of cutting U.S. spending, so they feel a responsibility to keep their promises. However, Democrats are insistent that they will not make cuts. They argue that there is a place to negotiate the United States budget, but raising the debt ceiling is a separate conversation.

Right now, our Congress is failing the American people, and it cannot be blamed on just one party. The utter unwillingness to compromise on both sides of the aisle is making it impossible to complete a task vital to the future of America. 

Until American politicians are willing to cross party lines and actually have discussions, the fate of the American people and economy will be at risk. 

As of Feb. 9, no agreement has been reached.