Why do we have a debt ceiling anyway? (VIDEO)

September 26, 2013

With Treasury Secretary Jack Lew making clear earlier this week that Oct. 17 is the drop-dead deadline for Congress to raise the debt ceiling or run the risk of default, the timeline for what is already shaping up as a massive political showdown is set.

We will write lots (and lots) about the political calculations involved in the debt ceiling fight. But, before we do that, let's get back to basics. As in, what is the debt ceiling and why does American have one?

Karen Tumulty, Post national politics reporter and witty Tweeter, answers those questions in this segment for "In Play". Watch!

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Sean Sullivan | September 26, 2013