What to Know in Washington: Set ‘Doomsday Clocks’ on Debt Limit

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With the US government facing the danger of a payments default later this year, Congress has a variety of paths to avert economic disaster and boost the debt ceiling.

All of them would likely involve going right up to the market-rattling brink, according to current and former lawmakers and aides.

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The timeline kicks off within weeks, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is expected to advise that the government will deploy extraordinary accounting measures to avoid running out of cash. Those steps are forecast to be exhausted after July.

Republicans now in control of the House are demanding deep spending cuts as the price for an increase in the ceiling, while President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats reject such an outcome.

“I see movement there — but it’s not going to be without a lot of gnashing of teeth and doomsday clocks,” said Rodney Davis, a former Republican representative from Illinois. Read more.

Also Happening on the Hill


  • The House meets in a pro forma session at 11 a.m.
  • The Senate’s pro-forma session begins at 1:30 p.m.

FAA Would Form Office to Modernize Aviation Systems Under Bill

A Republican lawmaker wants to establish a federal office to advance new aviation technology as concerns grow over outdated US systems, underscored by a major systems failure this week.

  • The computer failure that prompted a halt of all US flight departures was caused when a data file was damaged as a result of a failure to follow government procedures, the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday. Read more.

Elections & Politics

Biden Special Counsel Is DOJ Veteran Who Oversaw Mueller’s Work

Newly appointed Special Counsel Robert Hur brings rare firsthand experience with a sensitive investigation carrying high legal and political stakes for a sitting president.

NYC Mayor Pledges to Work With Scandal-Plagued George Santos

New York City Mayor Eric Adams pledged on Thursday to work with George Santos as long as the embattled Republican serves in Congress.

Around the Administration


  • Biden at 11:15 a.m. greets Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio at the White House, immediately followed by a bilateral meeting then a working lunch at 11:45 a.m.
  • At 1:45 p.m., the president departs for New Castle, Delaware
  • White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Senior Advisor for Public Engagement Keisha Lance Bottoms give a press briefing at 12:30 p.m.

Biden to Discuss China Tech Curbs With Japan, Dutch Leaders

President Joe Biden will discuss cooperation on limiting China’s access to semiconductor technology in back-to-back visits to Washington by leaders of Japan and the Netherlands in the coming days.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will seek public support for his robust new security strategy from Biden at their upcoming summit, after criticism from China. Read more.

White House Issues First All-Government Plan to Bolster Science

A White House working group released on Thursday the first-ever mandatory set of instructions aimed at standardizing and strengthening the way federal agencies handle science.

Moderna Covid Shot Price Hike Plan Hard to Justify: Jean-Pierre

Biden shares Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) concern about Moderna’s plan to increase the price of its Covid-19 vaccines, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a press briefing Thursday.

Chamber Vows to Sue FTC Over Non-Compete Ban If Rule Goes Ahead

The US Chamber of Commerce is opening another front against the Federal Trade Commission, threatening to sue the agency if it goes ahead with its recently proposed ban on non-compete agreements.

US Foreign Data Collection Program Needs Scrutiny, Watchdog Told

Academics and digital rights advocates pressed a surveillance oversight board to step up its scrutiny of a program that lets the US government collect communications such as emails, messages, and phone calls in search of foreign intelligence.

Federal Government Not Up to 5G Speed, Cybersecurity Needs Yet

A federal cybersecurity vendor is spinning up a division dedicated to 5G networks, technology that “threat actors are watching and are looking to exploit,” according to Kevin Simzer, Trend Micro’s chief operating officer.

PFAS-Free Fire Suppressant Requirements Released by Pentagon

The requirements PFAS-free firefighting foams must meet and the process manufacturers must use to have their foams approved for sale to the military were released by the Pentagon on Thursday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katrice Eborn at keborn@bgov.com

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