On The Money: Yellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' | Frustration builds as infrastructure talks drag

On The Money: Yellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' | Frustration builds as infrastructure talks drag
© Greg Nash

Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money, where we dig the new Cleveland baseball team name. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Yellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm': Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWhite House touts Nobel economists' support for Biden agenda Joe Manchin is wrong — we can't afford not to invest in our children The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - What do Manchin and Sinema want? MORE urged congressional leaders Friday to raise the federal debt limit as soon as possible or risk “irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans.”

In a Friday letter, Yellen warned that the Treasury Department is unable to project how long it could stave off a potentially catastrophic default on the national debt if Congress does not either raise or suspend the debt ceiling before Aug. 1. 

“In recent years Congress has addressed the debt limit through regular order, with broad bipartisan support,” Yellen wrote. “I respectfully urge Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting as soon as possible.”

The background:  A two-year deal to suspend the debt limit expires on July 31, and Congress is unlikely to reach another agreement to lift it before then.

  • The debt ceiling does not increase or reduce government spending, but sets a cap on how much debt the government can take on while paying for obligations already approved by Congress and the president. 
  • Even so, Senate Republican leaders said this week there will not be enough Republicans to support a debt ceiling increase or suspension if it is not tied to debt reduction measures. 
  • Democrats have refused those requests, arguing that the GOP is holding the economy hostage to partisan demands.

While the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated this week that the Treasury likely has until October or November before hitting the end of the road, Yellen said it could happen soon after Congress returns from recess in the middle of September. I explain here.




Frustration builds as infrastructure talks drag: Tempers are starting to flare on both sides of the aisle as bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on and negotiators face the prospect of missing an informal self-imposed deadline of Monday for getting a deal.

  • Some Democrats are accusing Republicans of slow-walking the negotiations and reopening negotiating items that were believed to be solved.
  • Republicans say Democrats are being unreasonable in some of their demands, such as an insistence on tens of billions of dollars in new funding for transit and broad authority for local governments to decide how to spend infrastructure funds.

The timeline: A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators who have been working with the White House for months to fill out a $1.2 trillion, eight-year spending proposal say they’re on track to get it done next week, but frustrations are starting to mount as a final deal eludes them.

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton tells us more here.


Federal appeals court finds CDC eviction moratorium unlawful: A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exceeded its authority by temporarily halting evictions amid the pandemic.

In an unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that the agency had overreached with its eviction moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of July.

The upshot: It was not immediately clear what practical impact would result from the ruling, which affirmed a March decision by a federal judge in Tennessee and blocked enforcement of the eviction freeze throughout the Western District of Tennessee.

The CDC said when extending the moratorium in June that it would not likely renew it again in August, and today’s ruling would make that even more complicated. But the agency is facing new pressure from progressives and housing advocates.

Ocasio-Cortez calls on CDC to extend eviction ban: In a Friday statement, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Photos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE (D-N.Y.) urged the Biden administration to prevent the CDC’s ban on most evictions from expiring, saying “reckless it's” to allow the ban to lapse with a fraction of the $46 billion in federal rental aid actually in the hands of tenants, landlords and utilities companies.

I’ve got more here.




  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on the implementation and enforcement of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at 9:30 a.m.
  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on central bank digital currencies at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on cryptocurrencies at 10 a.m.
  • A Senate Banking subcommittee holds a hearing on student loan borrowers and federal pandemic repayment protections at 3 p.m.


  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a markup of pending legislation at 10 a.m.
  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on building on bipartisan retirement legislation at 10 a.m.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee announces its July monetary policy decision at 2 p.m. followed by a press conference with Fed Chair Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the U.S. food supply chain at 2:30 p.m.


  • The Select Committee on the Climate Crisis holds a hearing on financing climate solutions and job creation at 9 a.m.
  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing on interest rate caps at 10 a.m.






  • A newly conducted analysis predicts that sales of electric vehicles will outpace combustion vehicles by 2036 in the United States.
  • Longtime Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta is joining Huawei as the embattled Chinese telecom company ramps up its efforts under the Biden administration.