Treasury: Social Security could be exempted from debt

The Treasury has given the OK to legislation that would effectively prioritize Social Security in case the debt ceiling is not raised by the Aug. 2 deadline, Sen Bill Nelson’s office announced Friday.

Nelson (D-Fla.) said earlier this week that he had legislation prepared that would temporarily exempt payments from the entitlement program from counting against the national debt.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in a letter dated Friday, told Nelson that such a measure would give his department special authority to ensure Social Security benefits get distributed. But Geithner also stressed, more than once, the broader importance of raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit.

“The impact of a default crisis would be felt much more broadly, affecting our men and women in uniform, people who rely on Medicare and Medicaid, veterans, civil servants, businesses that supply goods and services to the government, and many others,” the Treasury secretary wrote.



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