Shai Akabas

As the “X Date” looms, it’s time to defang the debt limit
We can’t relax until this threat to the global economy is defused

OPINION — Here we go again.

The U.S. government ran up against its debt limit over the weekend — a record $22 trillion. The countdown has begun toward the “X Date,” when the Treasury Department will no longer be able to meet all the country’s financial obligations in full and on time.

On the debt limit, the best fiscal game is the one not played
Neither the livelihood of federal workers nor the fate of the global economy should be bargaining chips

OPINION — During the 35-day government shutdown, the country looked on as American leaders repeatedly rolled the dice with both lives and property on the line. Each time, total disaster was narrowly avoided and Americans breathed a sigh of relief. That respite may be short-lived, however, with more fiscal challenges closing in.

Policymakers now have only 11 days to avoid yet another partial shutdown. And even if Congress and the president hammer out a long-overdue budget deal in the next two weeks, another fiscal fight — with even higher stakes — is on the horizon.

As Both Parties Play the Blame Game, Our Fiscal Future Hangs in the Balance
Policymakers sacrifice long-term economic health for short-term political gain

OPINION — This is fiscal insanity.

The federal deficit grew 17 percent to $779 billion in the fiscal year just ended, but that’s not the worst of the problem. By the administration’s own estimate, the deficit will increase almost 40 percent to nearly $1.1 trillion in the current fiscal year. With few policymakers batting an eye, this disturbing trend has no end in sight.

Opinion: Congress, the CBO Is Not Your Football
As omnibus approaches, lawmakers should resist the temptation to throw the agency around

Congress finally heads for a vote this week on a long overdue omnibus appropriations package for fiscal 2018 — a year that is nearly halfway over. Fiscal policy debates on taxes and health care have added friction to an already partisan atmosphere.

Caught in the middle of this endless wrangling on Capitol Hill about budget priorities — where to cut, where to spend — is an organization that has come under fire for telling it like it is on the cost of those proposals, the Congressional Budget Office.

Opinion: How Debt Limit Drama Gets Resolved Is Up in the Air
Policymakers have always extended limit just in time — but the script is now flipped

In the first year of the Trump administration, Capitol Hill has specialized in drama. From health care to taxes, decisions affecting large swaths of the economy have come down to the last minute. Months of wrangling over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act culminated in an ignominious defeat. Tax reform also came down to the wire in the Senate, narrowly squeaking through in a middle-of-the-night roll call. Next up, a debt limit drama could be on the way.

The debt limit’s suspension quietly ended on Dec. 8, the same day policymakers chose once again to punt on negotiating a budget agreement. In what has become ordinary practice over the past seven years, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the implementation of so-called extraordinary measures — accounting maneuvers that temporarily give Treasury extra borrowing room (and thus, cash) to pay the government’s bills while operating at the debt limit. BPC’s projection is that those measures would last until March, although tax reform, spending cap adjustments, and additional disaster relief could shorten the time frame.