Is October 17 Still the Drop Dead Date for the Debt Ceiling?

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I’d still like to know if Treasury thinks October 17 is the drop-dead day for hitting the debt ceiling. I’ve looked through the various numbers about federal income and outgo, and I accept that the government shutdown probably doesn’t affect spending all that much. But it does affect it some, and I’d like to know how much.

Here’s why. If October 17 rolls around and Jack Lew suddenly announces that, thanks to the shutdown, we have some extra time before the sky falls, it’s going to feed the shockingly common Republican belief that all the debt ceiling chatter is little more than liberal scaremongering. For the same reason, I’d like Treasury to tell us definitively if they can prioritize payments or not. Because if it turns out they can, and the worst effects of the debt ceiling can therefore be deferred, Republicans will take it as even further evidence of scaremongering.

I know Treasury is in a tough position. But it could be disastrous if they’ve been less than 100 percent forthright and pundits everywhere start claiming that the whole thing has been a cynical game and there was never any serious danger after all. It wouldn’t be true, but it would nonetheless make resolution of the debt ceiling crisis even harder than it seems now.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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