Congressional Members Discuss Debt Ceiling, Government Funding Deadlines

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congress is returning to the capital after their thanksgiving recess and they have two major tasks ahead of them: finalizing a budget and the debt ceiling. Both have deadlines coming up and if they don’t resolve them, we could be looking at another government shutdown or an economic crisis.

The clock is ticking on a couple of important federal fiscal issues with not a lot of time left to act on them. The most immediate issue is funding the federal government to avoid a government shutdown by December 3rd.

A few months ago, Republicans and Democrats agreed to a short term extension for funding the government through December 3rd. There’s talks there could be another extension through January but that’s still only a temporary fix.

“In fact that’s worse than that because it puts the government on autopilot and puts the spending levels at previous spending levels,” said Rep. Fred Keller (R- PA). “It doesn’t do the things we need to do responsibly which is plan, invest tax payer money, the people’s money, in programs and things that look at becoming more efficient more transparent.”

And by December 15th, the Treasury Department told members they have to act on the U.S. borrowing cap known as the debt ceiling. Unless congress raises it or suspends it, the government could fall behind on our payments. The Treasury Department believes the economy would fall into an economic recession if that happens.

“We need to take care of the funding and debt ceiling and not have this cliff to cliff type of governing that the other side is putting us in and that’s a problem,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R- NY). “That’s a problem that will be ultimately missed one of these cliffs and if we default on our debt, we’re going to have major problems in regards to what that will do to the U.S. economy and our strength as a world governing power.”

Congressional staffers told us that the Treasury Department does have extraordinary measures in place to prevent that. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D- NY) told us back in September congress won’t let that happen.

“There is no circumstances in which we will put the full faith and credit of the United States at risk,” said Gillibrand.


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