As Debt Limit Reached, Agreement Still Far Off
By DAMIAN PALETTA And CAROL E. LEE
WSJ's Paul Vigna reports the nation's nearly $14.3 trillion debt limit will be breached today. Also, NASDAQ withdrew its bid for the NYSE. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, file)
The U.S. government is expected to hit the $14.294 trillion debt ceiling Monday, setting in motion an uncertain, 11-week political scramble to avoid a default.
The Treasury Department plans to announce Monday it will stop issuing and reinvesting government securities in certain government pension plans, part of a series of steps designed to delay a default until Aug. 2.
The Treasury's moves buy time for the White House and congressional leaders to reach a deficit-reduction agreement that could clear the way for enough lawmakers to vote to raise the amount of money Congress allows the nation to borrow.
Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, said reaching the debt ceiling "should be a warning bell to the political system that it's time to get serious about preserving our full faith and credit." The Obama administration says a default would tip the U.S. back into a financial crisis.
But the pathway to a deal remains unclear, even to those doing the negotiating. The White House and Republicans are giving conflicting signals about how close they are to a deal. Vice President Joe Biden said last week the contours of an agreement were taking shape. House Speaker John Boehner painted a different picture Sunday, saying on CBS's Face the Nation "I'm not seeing any real action."