The Debt Ceiling Decision Tree

President Joe Biden meets with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the Oval Office on Monday. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Republicans and Democrats still haven’t hammered out a deal to raise the debt ceiling and avert the financial catastrophe that could accompany a default on the national debt.  

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden are continuing to negotiate, but the range of potential outcomes goes beyond a default/no default binary. With eight days before the projected “X-date,” here are five possible outcomes.

1. A deal comes together in time. 

Democrats and Republicans have been at odds over conditions for raising the debt ceiling since this session of Congress began in January. Democrats wanted a clean debt ceiling hike while Republicans demanded a series of spending cuts. But a divided Congress means a deal will require buy-in from both sides.

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