Time's Up? U.S. Government Hits Debt Ceiling

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The U.S. government has reached its maximum credit limit, meaning the national debt has surpassed the $14.3 trillion mark.
    
The U.S. Treasury Department, however, has bought a little more time, giving Congress until Aug. 2 to take action before the government defaults.

Republicans and Democrats are working to reach an agreement that would allow the government to borrow more money and pay for its operation.
   
Congress has raised its own credit limit more than 100 times since 1940. But at $14.3 trillion, there are critical sticking points this time around.    
    
Republicans say they won't approve raising the debt limit until the president agrees to substantial spending cuts.
    
In a recent appearance on "The 700 Club," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., warned that the U.S. government was on the brink of a disaster.

"I see on the horizon a debt crisis where it becomes increasingly difficult to pay our bills as country," he said.

Click play to watch Efrem Graham's updated report, followed by comments from Seton Motley, founder of the group Less Government.

"Foreign countries such as Japan, which has its own natural disasters, China, India, which have their own, (have) been buying our debt for so long, (are) buying less of it. Interests rates rise and then we pay our debt by printing money," he said.   
    
Vice President Joe Biden is leading bipartisan negotiations in Congress in hopes of reaching a deal before the deadline.  t that point, the federal government will default on its debts.
    
However, political observers are still urging lawmakers not to give the president a blank check.

"I would say find a formula and pass a very, very short debt ceiling increases or very small amounts and take some savings that the president couldn't possibly veto," presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"And if you had to, do a debt ceiling every three weeks, but do not give him a blank check," he said.

Some conservatives are talking about selling off government assets like land, buildings, or even some of the 261 million ounces of gold owned by the Treasury Department.
    
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has ordered the government to stop investing in two retirement funds for federal employees so it can continue to borrow. 

"Because Congress has not yet acted to raise the limit, we have now set in motion a series of extraordinary measures that will give Congress some additional time to raise the debt limit," Geithner said.
    
Those measures include borrowing billions from special government funds, while lawmakers continue to hash out a resolution.

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Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.