Lawmakers dismiss possibility of debt limit off-ramp


Congress is hurtling toward a debt crisis in weeks, and this time lawmakers may not be able to fall back on their time-honored tradition of punting the problem.

Key members from both parties are rejecting the idea of hiking the debt ceiling for a short period to give negotiations more time. Republicans are blaming President Joe Biden and Democrats for waiting too long to start talks in the first place, while Democrats insist Republicans stop playing with fire and support a “clean” debt increase. The two parties’ respective positions seem just as dug-in now as they were in January, despite fresh warnings the U.S. could breach its debt ceiling as soon as June 1.

That leaves only a few weeks for the two sides to strike a deal. And while Congress has proven it can move fast under pressure, there are creeping doubts it could move fast enough this time. A temporary extension of the nation’s borrowing ability could be where Congress and the White House eventually end up in efforts to avert an economic catastrophe.