Welcome back to debt ceiling drama!
The nation's borrowing limit is getting reinstated Monday, and the clock will start ticking toward possible default sometime in October or November when the Treasury runs out of "extraordinary measures" to keep paying the bills.
Will the U.S. default? Almost certainly not. Will getting the debt limit raised (or suspended again) be a terrible mess that ripples through markets and dents the economy? Probably. Why should this time be any different?
The coming debt limit fight could be even worse than usual given other deadlines and political forces in play. The debt limit will begin to pinch just as Congress needs to pass a new spending bill to keep the government open past the Oct. 1 start of the 2016 fiscal year.
We'll get a preview of just how challenging that could be this week when House and Senate Republicans release competing budget blueprints. The documents don't mean that much—they are a starting point for coming up with spending figures for 2016. But the data are likely to display big differences between the two chambers on spending levels for defense, how to deal with the sequester cuts and when to bring the budget into balance.
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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., declared to The New York Times that the GOP is "at war" with itself over defense spending, with fiscal hawks fighting military hawks.