Can the debt ceiling be raised . . .

. . . during a government shutdown?

How does that work?

Congress needs to vote on it. They have until October 17th.

I take it this means that as far as the activities of Congress are concerned, the shutdown has no effect? They can keep passing bills to repeal ObamaCare without dealing with getting the government started back up?

[Yakov Smirnoff]WHAT a country![/Yakov Smirnoff]

Sure, a law is passed by Congress to raise the debt ceiling. There’s no problem at all. But that has no effect on government operations if there isn’t an appropriations bill to allocate money to the various agencies.

ETA: Ah, I think I see the root of the question. Even though congressional staff is subject to furloughs, those who are necessary for Congress to perform its constitutional function (senators, congressmen, bill clerks, parliamentarians, etc) must still show up to work. Otherwise a government shutdown would eviscerate the ability of the government to pass legislation to get out of a shutdown.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

As long as it’s shut down, will the shutdown postpone the day of reckoning for the debt ceiling? I know that the government will eventually spend even more than not shutting down due to paying back all of the furlough money, but since it is temporarily not sending out as many paychecks, will it extend the debt ceiling day by a few days?

(It obviously will not extend it indefinitely, since even if all non-defense workers were out of a job it wouldn’t come close to balancing the budget.)

It doesn’t seem to be so, according to a letter released by the Treasury Secretary yesterday. He still projects that there will be only $30 billion in cash left in the Treasury by October 17. There are still a lot of big dollar government programs that the shutdown doesn’t really touch – Medicare, Social Security, Veterans benefits to name a few.

Yeah, if Congress couldn’t act during a shutdown then the first shutdown would have been the permanent end of government.

Reminds me of an anecdote from the early days of experimental time-sharing computer operating systems, Multics in particular. Seems like it crashed once . . .

(From the famous Famous Bugs document, which I first saw floating around Usenet in the mid-1980’s.)

The shutdown is caused by Congress failing to pass legislation allowing the executive branch of government to spend money in some of its departments. It is not a complete shutdown - for example, the military is still funded and operational. It is also not complete in that it affects only the ability of the executive branch of government to spend money in certain areas. It doesn’t affect either the legislature (Congress) or the courts. There is nothing about the shutdown that would prevent Congress from acting on anything.

Apparently tax collections are also suspended (the IRS is closed) so it could have the opposite effect. Maybe not a great deal of money comes in this time of year, but some does.