You choose: who gets paid (and who doesn’t)

On August 2, the federal government will not have enough cash to pay for all of its programs and obligations. The U.S. will take in a total of $172.4 billion in revenue during the month, but its total payments exceed $306 billion, resulting in a $134 billion shortfall. If a debt-limit increase is not approved, the U.S. Treasury will have to choose among 80 million monthly payments and prioritize which programs are funded and which ones are not.

Which programs would you choose to pay? Make your choices below.

Program Cost, In billions Remaining revenue, In billions

Total revenue available

Remaining payments due




» Show what you left out Selected programs that could be affected

TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Other spending includes smaller costs in such agencies as State Department, Agriculture Department, Federal Railroad Administration, and U.S. Post Service money orders and District of Columbia funds.

SOURCES:, Department of Labor, Social Security Administration, Department of Defense.

GRAPHIC: Wilson Andrews, Todd Lindeman and Pam Tobey - The Washington Post. Published July 13, 2011.