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What is the debt ceiling and how can it affect your day-to-day?

What does the debt ceiling mean to the average American? Well, very little, if we are being honest.

The debt ceiling, or debt limit, places a maximum on the “total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations” These obligations include Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, tax refunds, and many other government-funded programs. By increasing the debt limit, Congress is effectively increasing the amount of money that the Treasury can borrow to pay its bills.

The current debt ceiling will be reached by June and if an increase or suspension is not enacted, the US Treasury risks defaulting on its loans. Such a situation could force the government to stop payments for Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, Social Security, and many other programs on which people across the country depend. If such a situation were to materialize, the impact on citizens would be felt in very profound ways. However, if an agreement is reached, many will not notice any difference in their day-to-day.

​Read our full coverage for details on the GOP plans to extract concessions from Democrats and the response from the White House.

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