Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Debt Clock

The Need to Lift the Debt Ceiling

Mar 15, 2017 | Budget Process
Tonight, the current suspension of the nation’s debt ceiling will end and the ceiling will be restored to current debt levels. According to independent projections, the combination of extraordinary measures and tax-season surpluses will allow the government to continue to operate without raising or suspending the debt ceiling until the fall of 2017. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said the following: 
 
The debt ceiling isn’t a game of chicken. It should be raised as soon as possible to ensure continued confidence in our economic system here at home and around the world. No policymaker should  threaten default on America’s obligations, and even the use of extraordinary measures to delay debt ceiling hikes has become all too ordinary.
 
At the same time, the debt ceiling offers an opportunity to take stock of our current fiscal situation, which is clearly unsustainable. The debt is at near record levels, it is growing faster than the economy, and serious talk of a plan to address it has pretty much disappeared.
 
Ideally, lawmakers will accompany lifting the debt ceiling with specific policy measures to reduce the debt trajectory. This would be the most responsible approach to dealing with both the debt ceiling and the debt. Heartfelt speeches about the huge debt we are leaving our children, waiting until the last minute, and then failing to make any changes, has become all too common, and we should strive to do better.
 
The United States needs to continue to pay the bills, and at the same time can come up with a plan to ensure we can afford bills in the future. We must use this moment not to jeopardize the credit of the United States but instead to begin to get our fiscal house in order.
 
For more information, read our newly-updated piece Q&A: Everything You Should Know About the Debt Ceiling
 
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For more information contact Patrick Newton, Press Secretary, at newton@crfb.org.