Debt Limit? What Debt Limit? | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Debt Limit? What Debt Limit?

House Republican leaders intended to put off the debt ceiling fight for three months. But could they accidentally be giving the Obama White House carte blanche to borrow like crazy through mid-May?

Key here is the language used to raise the existing $16 trillion debt ceiling. Instead of increasing it by a set dollar figure, the House bill simply suspends the debt ceiling law (the one that says how much the federal government can borrow) until May 19. And on May 19, it increases the debt ceiling by the amount the government has borrowed between the date the law is passed and midnight, May 18.

Here is the wording that defines what counts toward that retroactive debt ceiling increase:

"An obligation shall not be taken into account under paragraph (1) unless the issuance of such obligation was necessary to fund a commitment incurred by the Federal Government that required payment before May 19, 2013."

Hmmm. Any wiggle room there? Who's to say what "necessary" means in that sentence? The Obama administration? If so, maybe Treasury will find it "necessary" to authorize a couple trillion in bonds this spring — sort of nail down a home equity credit line to get through January 2017?

If this bill proves to have some legs, we shouldn't be too surprised if that language doesn't get tweaked by Republicans before it gets sent along to the president.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Second Annual Funk Parade To Take Over U Street

This weekend you can get funky on U Street with live music, a street festival and a parade, as tomorrow marks the second Funk Parade. Funk Parade organizers couldn't get a permit to march down U Street last year, but the crowd veered off V Street anyway to where co-founder Justin Rood always...
NPR

How Dangerous Is Powdered Alcohol?

Last month, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved a powdered alcohol product, making both parents and lawmakers nervous. Some states have already banned powdered alcohol. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with Brent Roth of Wired, who made his own powdered concoction and put it to the test.
NPR

Obama Administration Forced To Defend Strategy Against ISIS In Iraq

On this Memorial Day, the Obama administration finds itself defending its foreign policy strategy in Iraq where the self-proclaimed Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has captured the city of Ramadi.
NPR

In California, Technology Makes "Droughtshaming" Easier Than Ever

As California's drought continues, social media and smart phone apps let just about anyone call out water waste, often very publicly.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.