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What happens if the debt ceiling isn't raised?

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The Treasury has been up against the debt ceiling since May 19. But Secretary Jack Lew warned last week that his ability to create headroom under the $16.7 trillion limit will run out in mid-October. The threat facing the Treasury, and the nation, is what happens then if Congress doesn’t raise the limit. In the worst-case scenario, the government fails to make payments on the interest...