9月30日, 2021, Congress averted a potential federal government shutdown by passing a last-minute bill to fund government operations through December 3, 2021.1 两周后, another measure raised the debt ceiling by just enough to sustain federal borrowing until about the same date.2 尽管这些法案提供了暂时的救济, 他们没有解决根本问题, 国会将不得不在12月3日前再次采取行动.
The budget and the debt ceiling are often considered together by Congress, 但它们是不同的财政问题. 预算批准了未来的开支, while the debt ceiling is a statutory limit on federal borrowing necessary to fund 已经授权 支出. Thus, increasing the debt ceiling does not increase government 支出. But it does allow borrowing to meet increased 支出 authorized by Congress.
The underlying fact in this relationship between the budget and the debt ceiling is that the U.S. 政府依靠赤字运作，而且自2002年以来每年都是如此.3 美国.S. Treasury funds the deficit by borrowing through securities such as Treasury notes, bills, and bonds. 当债务上限达到时, the Treasury can no longer issue securities that would put the government above the limit.
联邦财政年度从10月1日开始, and 12 appropriations bills for various government sectors should be passed by that date to fund activities ranging from defense and national park operations to food safety and salaries for federal employees.4 These appropriations for discretionary 支出 account for about one-third of federal 支出, 剩下的三分之二, 包括社会保障和医疗保险, 由法律规定.5
Though it would be better for federal agencies to know their operating budgets at the beginning of the fiscal year, 自1997年财政年度以来，所有12项法案都没有在最后期限前通过.6 今年，截至10月底，这些法案都没有获得通过.7
In order to buy time for further budget negotiations, Congress typically passes a 持续的决议, which extends federal 支出 to a specific date based on a fixed formula. The 持续的决议 of September 30 extended 支出 to December 3 at FY 2021 levels.8 这增加了今年预算谈判的风险, 支出 caps on discretionary 支出 that were enacted in 2011 expired on September 30, 2021, so FY 2022 budget levels may become the baseline for future 支出.9
A debt limit was first established in 1917 to facilitate government borrowing during World War I. 从那时起, 这一限额已经被提高或暂停了近100次, 通常很少或没有冲突.10 然而，近年来，它变得越来越有争议. 2011年，谈判已经接近尾声 & Poor 's下调了美国国债的评级.S. 政府信用评级.11
为期两年的禁令已于今年8月1日到期. 当时，联邦债务约为28美元.4万亿年, with large recent increases due to the $3 trillion pandemic stimulus passed with bipartisan support in 2020, as well as the 2021 American Rescue Plan and continuing effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.12–13 The Treasury funded operations after August 1 by employing certain “extraordinary measures” to maintain cash flow. Treasury Secretary Ja净 Yellen projected that these measures would be exhausted by October 18.14
The bill signed on October 14 increased the debt ceiling by $480 billion, the amount the Treasury estimated would be necessary to pay government obligations through December 3, 再次使用非常手段. 不像预算的延长, 哪个是硬性的截止日期, 债务上限日期只是一个估计, 财政部可能会有一点喘息的空间.15–16
自经济大衰退以来，国家债务增加了两倍, including a recent spike due to pandemic relief and lower tax revenue.
If the budget appropriations bills — or another 持续的决议 — are not passed by December 3, 政府将被迫关闭无资金支持的业务, 除了一些基本的服务. 这发生在2013财年, 2018, 和2019年, 停摆持续16天, 3天, 35天, 分别. A Senate report estimated that the three shutdowns cost taxpayers almost $4 billion and nearly 57,000 损失的生产时间.17
Although the consequences of a government shutdown would be serious, 经济已经从以前的关闭中反弹. 相比之下，美国经济衰退.S. government default would be unprecedented and could result in unpaid bills, 更高的利率, 以及对美国失去信心.S. Treasury securities that would reverberate throughout the global economy. The Federal Reserve has a contingency plan that might mitigate the effects of a short-term default, but Fed Chair Jerome Powell has emphasized that the Fed could not “shield the financial markets, 和经济, 以及美国人民避免违约的后果.”18
考虑到风险, 国会不太可能允许政府违约, 但是提高债务上限的道路并不明朗. The temporary measure was passed through a bipartisan agreement to suspend the Senate filibuster rule, which effectively requires 60 votes to move most legislation forward. 然而, this was a one-time exception and may not be available again. 另一种可能是在教育中附加条款, 医疗保健, 气候计划将通过一个复杂的项目 预算调整 允许法案绕过参议院阻挠议事的程序. 然而, 和解过程非常耗时, and it is not clear whether the debt ceiling would meet parliamentary requirements.19
预算和债务上限是严重的问题, 但国会过去总是能找到解决这些问题的方法. It’s generally wise to maintain a long-term pg电子 strategy based on your personal goals, 时间框架, 和风险承受能力, rather than overreacting to political conflict and any resulting market volatility.
U.S. Treasury securities are guaranteed by the federal government as to the timely payment of principal and interest. The principal value of Treasury securities fluctuates with market conditions. If not held to maturity, they could be worth more or less than the original amount paid. All pg电子s are subject to market fluctuation, risk, and loss of principal. When sold, pg电子s may be worth more or less than their original cost.