Congress Has 19 Days to Raise the Debt Ceiling

“We now estimate that extraordinary measures will be exhausted no later than Tuesday, November 3.”

Lightspring/Shutterstock

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Congress must raise the debt ceiling by November 3 in order to avoid a disastrous government default, the Treasury Department warned House Speaker John Boehner in a letter on Thursday. That means the precipice will come two days earlier than previously thought, even as Republican lawmakers continue to accuse the Obama administration of inventing a date in order to force them to raise the ceiling without pursuing the spending cuts they’ve sought to extract from the White House in exchange.

“We now estimate that extraordinary measures will be exhausted no later than Tuesday, November 3,” wrote Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. “I respectfully urge Congress to take action as soon as possible.”

Republican lawmakers are unlikely to take this entreaty at face value: Several Republican members of Congress told Politico earlier this month that they believed the November 5 deadline was a fiction devised by the White House to gain political leverage in negotiations over the debt ceiling.

“There is nothing that the White House considers more flexible than the debt ceiling deadline,” Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri told Politico.

Delays come with substantial risks and costs. “We have learned from the past that failing to act until the last minute can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States,” Lew wrote.

Republicans in Congress have forcefully resisted efforts to raise the debt ceiling. Boehner is hoping to resolve the impasse before leaving Congress at the end of this month. The announcement of his resignation came after a series of struggles with the increasingly powerful conservative arm of the Republican Party, which has rebuffed his attempts at compromise.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate