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The federal government is open for business today thanks to the budget agreement worked out late last week. But as the details are sorted out, Republicans and Democrats are rushing to the next battleground in the budget wars — the debt ceiling.
That’s the cap on federal spending set by Congress which limits how much the government can borrow. The White House says that failing to raise the debt ceiling would result in an “unthinkable disaster.” But Republican leaders say they want to see major steps toward reducing long-term debt before they sign off.
New York Times Treasury Department reporter Binyamin Appelbaum explains how the debt ceiling works and what’s at stake in the debate.