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Attention, Deficit Disorder
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Battle lines are being drawn as the White House and Congress prepare for a big showdown in the spring over a question that troubles a lot of households these days: how to manage the nation's credit card. This spring the federal debt is expected to reach its ceiling, currently set by Congress at $14.2 trillion, which used to seem like a lot of money. If the ceiling isn't raised, the government runs out of borrowing authority, international markets lose confidence in our ability to pay our bills and the government might have to shut down departments as it did in a similar 1995 standoff between President Bill Clinton and an earlier Republican majority led by Speaker Newt Gingrich.