The Debt Ceiling Debate: How a Federal Default Could Impact States and Cities

The Debt Ceiling Debate: How a Federal Default Could Impact States and Cities

If President Obama and congressional leaders cannot reach a deal to raise the federal debt limit by August 2, the federal government might be unable to borrow to meet its financial obligations. Federal policy makers, opinion leaders and the media have focused on how a federal default might affect the national economy and global markets. But at a time when states and cities are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, not enough attention has been paid to how a default could impact their efforts to balance their budgets or borrow for critical needs.

Read the Issue Brief: The Debt Ceiling Debate: How a Federal Default Could Impact States and Cities 


The Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative has developed a fact sheet answering frequently asked questions about the federal debt limit and the consequences of defaulting on the government's obligations.

Spotlight on Mental Health

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Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

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How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

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What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.

Explore Pew’s new and improved
Fiscal 50 interactive

Your state's stats are more accessible than ever with our new and improved Fiscal 50 interactive:

  • Maps, trends, and customizable charts
  • 50-state rankings
  • Analysis of what it all means
  • Shareable graphics and downloadable data
  • Proven fiscal policy strategies


Welcome to the new Fiscal 50

Key changes include:

  • State pages that help you keep track of trends in your home state and provide national and regional context.
  • Interactive indicator pages with highly customizable and shareable data visualizations.
  • A Budget Threads feature that offers Pew’s read on the latest state fiscal news.

Learn more about the new and improved Fiscal 50.