Could the United States soon face financial calamity by defaulting on its loans?

It appears it won’t — at least until December, as Republicans and Democrats reached a short-term deal to raise the debt ceiling, while the battle over how to raise it for a longer period of time continues.

Here’s a look at what the debt ceiling is and why we’re talking about it.

What to know

  • What is the debt ceiling?
  • Why does Congress need to raise the debt ceiling?
  • Why are we talking about this now?
  • What happens if the government defaults on its debt?
  • How does this end?