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Yellen Warns Dec. 15 New Estimated Date for U.S. Debt Default Unless Congress Acts

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a meeting with President Joe Biden and business leaders about the debt limit in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

In just about a month's time, the United States could be unable to pay its bills, according to a new warning from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. 

It comes as the country nears the debt ceiling. 

Last month, lawmakers agreed to raise the debt limit by $480 billion. But the Treasury Department says that only keeps the country solvent until mid-December.

Now leaders on Capitol Hill are again debating what to do. 

Dec.15 is the new estimated date that the U.S. will reach its debt limit if Congress doesn't act and they also need to fund the government by Dec. 3 to avoid a shutdown.  

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) argues Democrats need to stop trying to spend more money and focus on addressing these two issues.   

"We have record inflation, 30-year high inflation. We're seeing increasing gas prices. We're heading into winter. Natural gas prices are expected to go up 30% and then, in addition, there's a natural gas tax that's included in these plans," the Washington state Republican said. 

"This is hurting American families," she continued. "I am working hard to raise awareness and encourage the majority not to pass these bills. We need to keep the government-funded, but we do not need to be continuing to spend in this reckless manner that is actually going to hurt Americans."

Republicans have said since the summer they will not help Democrats raise the debt ceiling and are encouraging the party in power to go about it alone through the budget reconciliation process. 

But if they don't and the U.S. were to default, Moody Analytics said it would be bad. 

Every area of federal spending would be affected, including $20 billion in social security payments to seniors, paychecks to the military would stop along with payments to suppliers, and other government checks and spending would stop. Retirement funds could also take a hit.

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