Sen. Chuck Schumer (Reuters)
Senate Democrats warned Thursday of dire economic consequences ifCongress fails to raise theUS debt ceiling, saying it could prompt a shutdown of the federal government.
“It’s playing with fire,” said US Senator Chuck Schumer said of the legislative standoff.
If a shutdown were to occur, “citizens couldn’t get their checks, veterans couldn’t get their benefits, military payments would stop,” the veteran New York lawmaker said.
Congress early in 2010 raised the US debt ceiling to nearly $14.3 trillion — very near the current US debt of some $13.9 trillion dollars.
The government will run out of money in about two months’ time, according to theUS Treasury Department, unless Congress votes to raise the federal debt ceiling.
But while Democrats, along with most Republicans, agree on the need to avoid having theUnited States default on its debt, which likely would likely trigger a massive economic meltdown, some conservatives remain firmly against increasing ceiling.
They insist instead of that it is time for massive spending cuts and belt-tightening, and say that raising the debt ceiling further only forestalls needed austerity moves.