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Facts Matter

Don't confuse a government shutdown with the debt limit

With the relationship between President Trump and GOP leaders in Congress deteriorating, chances have risen for both a government shutdown and a failure for the United States to increase its debt limit. The timing of these very different issues — the government is funded through the end of September and the debt needs to be raised sometime in October — has led to some confusion.

Why it matters:

When these issues have come up before, conservative Republicans have threatened to vote against raising the debt limit unless the increase was matched by spending cuts, so Democratic votes were required to help Republican leaders push the bills through. But the failure to act on either would have vastly different consequences.

A government shutdown might mean a temporary inconvenience — an unplanned furlough or a botched trip to Yellowstone — but a failure to raise the debt limit would be a catastrophe for global finance.