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Peter Welch

In search of a way to defuse the debt limit brinkmanship

In search of a way to defuse the debt limit brinkmanship

As another showdown approaches over raising the nation's debt limit, people across the political spectrum are looking for ways to defuse an unusual budgetary mechanism that in recent years has ignited frequent congressional brinkmanship and threatened the shaky U.S. economy.

"I would say, please take the gun out of their hands," said Steve Bell, a former Republican Senate staffer who now directs economic policy for the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew warned Congress that it needed to increase the $18.1-trillion debt limit by Nov. 3 or risk a federal government default.

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