Debt Ceiling Vote Anticipated

The House and Senate return from their spring recess today facing a mounting federal debt and increasingly anxious and vocal constituents. Both chambers are expected to vote in the coming weeks on raising the debt ceiling since the national debt is expected to reach the limit allowed by law of $14.3 trillion by mid-May (however, the Treasury Secretary can shuffle accounts to push reaching the debt ceiling until approximately July). This leaves a short 2-month window to raise the debt ceiling to allow more borrowing or begin defaulting on debt. If the U.S. were to default on its debt, it would create a catastrophic international economic crisis with major domestic repercussions. Some House Members, particularly the Republican freshmen that campaigned strongly against increasing the debt, are signaling that they may vote against it. Some have stated that they will vote for raising the debt ceiling ONLY IF major cuts in federal spending are included. Block granting and/or capping Medicaid may be one of the cuts in federal spending under consideration. Under a block grant, federal funding for Medicaid would not grow when more people need health services. Instead, the challenge of providing health care without any additional federal money to people who are poor, elderly or have disabilities would fall to the states.

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