Government Shutdown Won’t Change Debt Ceiling D-Day

A shutdown wouldn't remove the pressure on Congress to raise the nation's debt limit

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J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Storm clouds hang over Capitol Hill on Sept. 27, 2013.

A potential government shutdown next week would have no material impact on the timing of the federal government reaching the debt limit, experts said Friday.

Steve Bell, the senior director of economic policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center, told TIME that a shutdown — of any length — wouldn’t alter the pressure on Congress to raise the nation’s borrowing limit.

“A shutdown would not affect the ‘X day’ by more than one day either way,” Bell said, using his office’s term for the deadline. “For the purposes of the debt limit, it’s going to be so negligible.”

Unlike the last government shutdowns, which came in December 1995 and January 1996, the current showdown comes at the start of a new fiscal year. October and November are important months for federal spending, with large mandatory expenditures. Bell said that regardless of a shutdown, he expects the Treasury’s extraordinary measures, which have allowed the government to manage its debt without raising the debt limit, will become insufficient to meet the government’s obligations between October 18 and November 5.

On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew set October 17 as the date at which extraordinary measures will be exhausted.