While so much of the news about Congress last week was what they didn’t do, they did manage to pass a bill to keep the government open through Dec. 3. The hope is that the extra time will enable them to come to an agreement on legislation to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2022.
In the meantime, they also need to quickly pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling or face the prospect of putting the full faith and credit of the United States at serious risk. It is important to note that raising the debt ceiling allows the government to borrow money to pay the bills for programs that have already been put into effect by previous Congresses. In other words, it does not allow for new borrowing and spending.
Defaulting on the bills of the United States has never happened before so no one knows for sure what the effects would be, but many people are concerned that they could be very harmful and even potentially catastrophic.
We report on this because seniors rely on two of the largest government programs - Social Security and Medicare – and while the effects of a government default on those programs is not certain, it probably is something we don’t want to find out.