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Wall Street Warns GOP on Debt Ceiling

It's not just Tim Geithner who's warning about the dangers of not raising the debt ceiling: Wall Street is pressing Republicans to reach a deal, lest fears over the U.S. defaulting on its debt send the global economy into a tailspin. During a recent series of meetings, Wall Street executives and lobbyists warned Republican lawmakers that letting the debate drag into the summer would disrupt credit markets. The government says it will reach its borrowing limit on May 16 and risks defaulting on its debt on July 8 without fresh funds. Though some lawmakers believe the debate can go past May 16 without causing too much damage, and the White House has indicated it might take until June to reach a broader deal, taking the debate down to the wire will likely make businesses and investors skittish. "Bond markets will start to get very nervous if we go beyond May 16 without a debt-ceiling agreement being reached," said Ajay Rajadhyaksha, head of fixed-income strategy at Barclays Capital. And if investors don't trust long-term government debt, interest rates would rise, making the government's borrowing costs go up and hastening the risk of default. "Wall Street understands that if we default on our obligations, our markets are going to crash," said freshman Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY). "They're doing their job and talking to a lot of members."

April 16, 2011 4:21 AM