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Photograph of the US Treasury building in Washington, DC.

Photograph of the US Treasury building in Washington, DC. | Photo Credit: MeanieHyaena

U.S. Treasury Nears Debt Limit

May 3, 2023

U.S. Treasury Nears Debt Limit

Ask Students: Who is calling for Congress to lift the debt ceiling “without condition”? What is the “debt ceiling”?

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The White House renewed its call for Congress to lift the debt ceiling without conditions as the nation could soon default on its debt. Since January, the government has deployed ‘extraordinary measures’ to pay its bills, but that could run out soon, according to the Treasury Secretary. White House Correspondent Laura Barrón-López and Congressional Correspondent Lisa Desjardins have the latest.

For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Who is calling for Congress to lift the debt ceiling “without condition”?
  • What is the “debt ceiling”?
  • When will the federal government no longer be able to pay its bills if the debt ceiling is not lifted?
  • Why has Congress refused to lift the debt ceiling?
  • How would failing to pay already promised payments affect the U.S. economy going forward?

Focus Questions

Since Congress has already established a budget to spend money, do you think a debt ceiling that makes it impossible to spend that money should exist? How should Congress and the President negotiate the budget in a way that doesn’t risk standoffs and damage to the overall economy?

Media Literacy: Why do you think the producers chose to interview reporters for this story and not the elected officials negotiating the debt ceiling vote?

Extension Discussion

What is the debt ceiling, who is in control of government spending at the federal level and what are the consequences of failing to pay debts? Before discussing, read this article for more details.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom
PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories. The site combines the best of NewsHour's reliable, trustworthy news program with lesson plans developed specifically for... See More
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