Over the past few years, there has been debate in congress as to whether or not to raise the debt ceiling.
My question is simple(the answer to it might not be):
What Is the debt ceiling, under what circumstances does it come into play, and what happens if we reach it?
I've heard multiple explanations.
- Some explanations suggest that reaching the debt ceiling means that the US government won't pay it's employees.
- Some explanations suggest that reaching the debt ceiling means that the US government won't repay it's loans.
- Some explanations suggest that reaching the debt ceiling means that the US government will not pay for programs that it has already budgeted for.
Some have also said that the debt ceiling legislation is unconstitutional according to section 4 of the 14th amendment. Is this the case?
Section 4 of the 14th amendment:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.