The Drama of the Debt-Ceiling Crisis

It’s dominating most of the major news outlets right now as well as the minds of Americans across the country: the debt-ceiling crisis.

Three times I have tried to write this week’s article on the unfolding debt drama in Washington and all of the potential outcomes and consequences of such a crisis. Three times I’ve been forced to trash my work because the situation continues to change by the hour, rendering any form of observation or conjecture obsolete. The latest news says that a decision will be reached by Friday night, but I’m sure that as soon as I publish this that estimation will have changed as well.

If you’ve been following the situation as I have, you’ll know that House Speaker John Boehner was working overtime yesterday to collect Republican votes for his legislation, which would temporarily raise the debt -ceiling through the end of this year and call for another vote in January. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that even if the bill passes, it will be dead on arrival to the Senate. I took a pause from writing my article yesterday afternoon after news arrived that the House would be voting on Boehner’s plan at 6:00 p.m. that evening, but as the afternoon of unsuccessful arm-twisting wore on, it was announced that the vote would be postponed. As of 1:00 p.m. this afternoon, Congress is still in talks and attempting negotiations. News reports across the Web are conflicting: Does Boehner have enough Republicans votes? If he tweaks his legislation to entice Democrats on board, will it alienate other Republicans? If the bill passes the House, will it truly die in the Senate? If so, then what? If it doesn’t, will it be vetoed by the President?

Speculation abounds that sometime on Friday (perhaps after the markets close) the Treasury will unveil a contingency plan if Congress cannot agree on a compromise by the August 2 deadline. The consequences of such a crisis are hard to pin down, but most agree that the United States risks losing its triple-A credit rating, and many bills stand to go unpaid–Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid among them. For those who rely solely or in part on these services as their source of income or assistance, this could be a huge blow.

I fully expect the situation to continue changing drastically and by the minute through the end of today and over the weekend, but I encourage everyone to remain calm until a resolution is reached. It would be fruitless for any of us to try to examine all the possible outcomes when so many variables keep changing, and there’s no need to cause alarm preemptively. But in the meantime, if you’d like to take action you can call, e-mail or use Twitter to tell your Congressman what YOU would like to see happen in Washington today.

Sources: Yahoo!News by Reuters Yahoo!News by TIME

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.