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Powell Is Sounding the Alarm on the Debt Limit — Again

  • Powell briefed lawmakers in 2011, helped coin ‘X-date’ term
  • Fed chair reprises warning about no option but to hike limit
Jerome Powell

Jerome Powell

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

In the worst political showdown over the US debt limit to date, a little-known former Treasury official in 2011 helped convince lawmakers that raising the ceiling was the only option. He’s back at it now, but from a much higher perch: chair of the Federal Reserve.

Jerome Powell, a financier who was also then serving at a Washington think-tank, criss-crossed Capitol Hill in 2011 to shoot down alternatives to boosting the debt limit, at a time when a number of Republicans were shrugging off warnings from President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department.