Earlier this month members of Congress averted the fiscal cliff when they passed a deficit-reduction plan at the last minute. While drastic cuts were avoided, a new debate on Capitol Hill could threaten pay to servicemembers and other federal employees. In a news conference on Monday, President Barack Obama warned that failing to raise the debt ceiling could have a negative impact on everything from veteran benefits to the ability to honor contracts.
The debate echoes one that gripped the nation during the summer of 2011, and while the United States technically reached its debt limit at the end of December, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner managed to extend the deadline by approximately two months. Still, the government could have trouble making payments by as early as February 15, and Obama said there is an immediate need to act.
"We've got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis when there's this clear path ahead of us that simply requires some discipline, some responsibility, and some compromise," he told reporters.
The ongoing debate comes as the threat of sequestration looms once again. Large, automatic spending cuts to the military budget will go into action on March 1 unless Congress can reach a deal.