Federal Relations

The Week Ahead: Debt Ceiling and Military COLAs

Both the House and Senate are in session this week. The Senate is expected to consider legislation to a repeal a cut in the cost-of-living adjustment for younger military retirees, while the House could consider debt ceiling legislation before adjourning Wednesday for a Democratic retreat. Both chamber will recess next week for the President’s Day week.

Treasury Secretary Lew told Congress on Friday that February 27th is the deadline for extending the nation’s debt limit, giving lawmakers less than three weeks to act before the government may default on payments. According to Lew, the 27th is the date when Treasury will exhaust the “extraordinary measures” it uses to stave off the need for new borrowing. While most believe that Congress will extend the nation’s debt limit without threat of government default, there is currently no agreement on how best to do that. House Republicans insist they want a policy concession from the White House to be attached to a debt limit extension, but they have not been able to agree among themselves on a provision. The suspension of the debt limit included in last December’s budget deal (PL 113-46) ended on Friday, leaving the Treasury Department to rely only on extraordinary measures to pay its bills.