| May 15, 2023
Currently in Congress negotiations continue around the nation's debt ceiling. As a professional counselor you may wonder how and if the negotiations in Congress may affect you, as well as what exactly the debt ceiling is.
The debt ceiling is a limit set by Congress on the amount of money that the US government can borrow to fund its operations. When the debt ceiling is reached, Congress must raise or suspend it to allow the government to continue borrowing money and paying its bills. Failure to raise the debt ceiling could lead to a default on US government debt, which could have grave consequences for the economy and financial markets.
In the past, negotiations over raising the debt ceiling have often been contentious, with both Democrats and Republicans using the issue as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations. The last major debt ceiling crisis occurred in 2019, when the government was briefly shut down due to disagreements over funding for a border wall and other issues.
House republicans led by Speaker McCarthy would like to issue a cap on government spending limits in future years. These limits would decrease spending on vital programs that support resources in critical areas such as schools, colleges and universities, federal substance use disorder centers, federally funded grants, and more.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlighted the following cuts under the Plan:
Puts roughly 1 million older Americans at risk of losing vital food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the number rises when you include families with children.
Put an estimated 1 million families with children at risk of losing income assistance, pushing many deeper into poverty.
Forces cuts of $3.6 trillion (about $11,000 per person in the US) over the next decade to discretionary spending that funds defense, veteran’s health care, childcare, medical research schools, college aid, and transportation.
ACA will continue to work within the Friends of HRSA Coalition to advocate on behalf of the profession, and keep our members informed. It is important to stay informed about these developments and to contact your elected representatives to express your opinions and concerns. To do so please visit the ACA Action Center, scroll down to “Find Officials”, enter your information, and draft an e-mail to your Representative and Senators and ask them to:
Set the fiscal year 2024 funding levels at a rate that invests in programs that support meeting the needs of all humans, all while fostering economic growth.
Inform them that Nondefense spending is a small part of the federal budget that plays a key role in supporting child-care, rural development, k-12 educations, financial aid for college students, courts and reentry programs, and public health.
For more information or if you would like to become involved in ACA’s advocacy efforts, you can contact the ACA Government Affairs and Public Policy team at email@example.com.