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Second Opinion

Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

Debt Ceiling Restored

February 7, 2014—The federal government is set to hit the statutory debt ceiling Feb. 7, forcing the Treasury Department to employ accounting tactics known as “extraordinary measures” to avoid the federal government defaulting on its obligations. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has repeatedly warned that those measures will be exhausted by late February.

The agreement that ended the government shutdown in October also suspended the debt ceiling until Feb. 7 [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 18, 2013].  That agreement called for the debt limit to be reinstated at the level necessary to cover all federal borrowing to that date, which is estimated to be about $17.3 trillion.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats have announced a plan to raise the debt ceiling.  At a Feb. 6 press conference, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “I think that we're still looking for the pieces to this puzzle, but listen, we do not want to default on our debt and we're not going to default on our debt. We're in discussions with members about how we can move ahead. We've got time to do this. We're going to continue to work at it. No decisions -- no decisions have been made.”

In a Feb. 6 colloquy, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said, “I am confident that the United States is not going to default on its debt and that we will resolve the need to increase the borrowing authority of this country prior to any deadline that the Treasury issues.”

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) responded that there are “well over 180 votes on our side of the aisle if that is a clean debt limit so that America can pay its bills and default is not a risk.”

There are press reports that Republicans may be considering using the debt limit increase to repeal a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for military retirees under 62 that was included in the Bipartisan Budget Act (P.L. 113-67).

Contact:

Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559
Email: dbmoore@aamc.org

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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.


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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806
Email: jkleinman@aamc.org