The White House and Congressional Republicans are still locked in crunch talks to try and avert the first debt default in US history, which Treasury officials have warned could come as soon as June 1.

The US borrows more than it brings in through taxes, and so Congress periodically has to authorize an increase to the US debt limit, known as the debt ceiling, which currently sits at more than $31 trillion.

While the probability that policymakers fail to lift or suspend the debt ceiling remains low, the risks of the United States stumbling into a situation where it cannot meet all its financial obligations — known as the “X-date”, rises with every day that passes.

If the US Treasury hits the debt ceiling and — as many analysts predict — it prioritizes debt repayments, it will be forced to pause spending on federal programs that provide crucial financial support to tens of millions of Americans

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