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Tipsheet

Biden Admin Warns Default Looms As the United States Hits Its Debt Limit

The United States officially bumped up against its debt limit on Thursday morning — a whopping $31.381 trillion — after the ceiling was raised less than two years ago in 2021, triggering "extraordinary measures" from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to avoid defaulting — for now. 

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned lawmakers in a letter last Friday that the limit would be reached on the 19th, as Townhall reported here, not exactly enough time for a divided Congress to act in any manner. But there's not a clear path forward to address the United States' debts anyway. 

That's because House Republicans took majority power in the lower chamber with a pledge, among others, to tie any debt ceiling increase to a cut in spending, lest Congress continue the cycle of raising the debt ceiling, spending like it's going out of style, and then raising the limit again. 

But the White House, according to Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, will not negotiate on a debt ceiling increase. Nor will the Biden administration accept any conditions presented by House Republicans in return for passing an increase. 

The question now becomes which side will blink first — the White House which claims to be completely against any conditions on raising the debt limit or House Republicans which pledged to Americans that they would disrupt the spending-debt cycle? 

There's also a clock on any negotiations which Republicans seek and the White House has so far refused to entertain, as Secretary Yellen said her "extraordinary measures" would only be able to stave off a default on American debts for a while, likely until at least early June.

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In a new letter sent to Speaker McCarthy on Thursday, Yellen reiterated that "the period of time that extraordinary measures may last is subject to considerable uncertainty, including the challenges of forecasting the payments and receipts of the U.S. Government months into the future," another point that shows how fiscally irresponsible the U.S. government has became as a result of bureaucratic bloat and spending binges. 

"I respectfully urge Congress to act promptly to protect the full faith and credit of the United States," Yellen added, but it doesn't look like "prompt" action is going to be likely with the stalemate in starting positions between President Biden and House Republicans. 

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