Starting Thursday, the US is expected to reach its statutory maximum of $31.381 trillion dollars. The total encompasses all “existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments,” according to the Treasury Department.

At that point, Treasury will begin to take what are called “extraordinary measures” to meet obligations without technically falling into default. These are essentially accounting measures — putting off certain contributions to federal employee pension funds to start — that put off the crisis. However, the government’s ability to do so would likely run out by sometime in June.

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Erik Sherman

 

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