100 million payments: Chaos for Treasury if we hit the debt ceiling
The bills due that day include $30 billion in interest on the debt; $6.8 billion in IRS refunds; $3.5 billion in federal salaries and benefits; $2.7 billion in military active pay; $2.3 billion in Medicare and Medicaid payments; $1.5 billion to defense vendors; $1.1 billion in safety net spending, including for food stamps and unemployment benefits; and $4.4 billion in other spending.
On March 1, Treasury will take in an estimated $20 billion in revenue. But that won’t be enough to cover the $25 billion in Social Security payments due that day, let alone the $58 billion in other bills.
Republicans say they won’t raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats commit to substantial spending cuts. And some say that the country can avoid technical default so long as Treasury prioritizes interest payments owed to U.S. bond investors over everyone else.