WASHINGTON, D.C. - There's another threat looming in Washington and it has nothing to do with the government shutdown.
Raising the national debt ceiling is the next big hurdle lawmakers will have to tackle. Experts say if they don't, it will have major consequences.
The country has never hit the debt ceiling before. It basically means the country won't have enough money to pay back its debt obligations among other things.
It's a big problem because then the country will have to stop spending somewhere. It could be for government contracts, roads, state aid, or anywhere else federal dollars go.
Experts worry it'll be a slippery slope after that. Other countries who own U.S. debt could lose their confidence in our ability to pay and that could mean a credit downgrade, which would hit all of our wallets.
"If you look at Spain, the unemployment rate is huge. Italy's in a crisis. Ireland has been in a crisis" says Ron McNeil, a business professor. "All of these countries; Greece we read about where their debt really exceeded their gross domestic product, we're there now. As it goes too far above that it gets very serious. That means in the future it affects everything we do."
The U.S. Treasury says if the debt ceiling isn't raised by next Thursday it'll have $30 billion cash on hand, that's less than half of what the government pays out on a given day.
Lawmakers in Washington are working on a short term fix to raise the debt ceiling enough to get through the next six weeks. But, there's no guarantee that'll happen.