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Congress faces flurry of economic deadlines before the year ends
Economist calls debt ceiling battle ‘political theater’ as deadline looms
Former White House Chief Economist Joseph Lavorgna and BNY Mellon Wealth Management Head of Equities Alicia Levine discuss the debt ceiling battle, jobs added in September and the impact of minimum wage.
Congress is gearing up for a hectic December, facing a flurry of must-pass spending bills and economic deadlines that could have catastrophic consequences if lawmakers miss them.
Lawmakers must address dueling deadlines on the debt ceiling and government funding, on top of President Biden's nearly $4 trillion economic agenda that Democrats are hoping to pass by year's end.
Top Senate Democrats and Republicans announced last week they had reached an agreement to raise the debt ceiling before an Oct. 18 deadline and avert a first-ever default – which Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned could trigger an unprecedented financial crisis in the U.S.
The deal will boost the legal debt cap by $480 billion, which the Treasury Department estimates would be enough to allow the government to continue borrowing through Dec. 3. The current limit is around $28.4 trillion and would be permitted to rise to $28.8 trillion. The new date, however, coincides with the expiration of federal government funding on Dec. 3, meaning lawmakers will likely need to reach a multi-pronged accord on both issues.
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Here's a closer look at the chaotic schedule ahead for lawmakers on Capitol Hill:
Lawmakers reached a deal last week on a short-term debt ceiling increase allowing the U.S. government to pay its bills until Dec. 3.
But the agreement did nothing to resolve the broader stalemate between Democrats and Republicans over the debt and likely sets up another showdown for the end of the year.
For months, GOP lawmakers refused to budge from their insistence that Democrats act alone to suspend or raise the debt ceiling through the budget reconciliation process, allowing them to bypass a 60-vote filibuster in the Senate. But Democrats were adamant about not going it alone and argued there was not enough time to use reconciliation, with the U.S. careening toward its first-ever default as soon as Oct. 18.