Bumping the ceiling
The Treasury Department estimates that on Monday the national debt will reach the limit set by Congress in February 2010. Treasury officials believe they can meet obligations until Aug. 2 by shifting money out of government retirement accounts and paying it back later. Republicans are demanding long-term spending cuts totaling trillions before agreeing to any further increase in the ceiling. Treasury officials warn that a failure to raise the limit could put the United States in danger of default, which would roil world markets and cost the nation billions in higher interest rates to service the debt.
SOURCE: Office of Management and Budget, White House. GRAPHIC: Tobey/The Washington Post.