A debt limit escape hatch for Social Security? Yes. - Roll Call & AMAC

Regarding the D.C. talk of debt limits and default, David Lerman of Roll Call explains a 1996 law that provides an escape clause from the debt limit that allows the Treasury Department to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits, even with a delay in raising the debt ceiling. The law allows for the Social Security and Medicare trust funds to be drawn down to keep those benefits flowing until the debt limit is raised, while prohibiting those funds from being used to pay for any other government programs. Treasury officials have often said it lacks the technical capability to prioritize payments that come due in such a way as to ensure that Social Security benefits, debt service or any other obligations would take precedence. The Congressional Budget Office called the technique “challenging” but also “technically feasible.” Read full article here.

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