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Debt Crisis Averted: But What’s Next?

Working to reach consensus before the October 17th debt ceiling deadline, the U.S. Congress reached an agreement to avoid a historic, and potentially catastrophic, lapse in the government’s ability to borrow money. The agreement averted an unprecedented debt default and will enable the government to re-open many of its services after a two-week shutdown. The agreement funds federal government agencies until January 15, 2014 and extends U.S. borrowing authority until February 7, 2014 although the Treasury Department may be able to temporarily extend its borrowing ability beyond that date should Congress fail to act early next year. While the agreement is good news, the deal reached by Congress is only a temporary solution to the nation’s debt ceiling challenges. The potential for another showdown in Congress, and shutdown of the government’s borrowing power, looms in a few short months when this temporary agreement expires. The agreement was only a stop-gap measure, Americans are faced with two real prospects for early next year: another government shutdown on January 15, 2014 and another debt ceiling crisis on February 7, 2014. Moreover, some Capitol Hill insiders believe that, unless Congress aligns on a final, “once and for all” solution to the debt-ceiling crisis, we could be facing many more Congressional showdowns and deadlines — perhaps on a monthly basis and through the next election.

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