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Episode 793: This Week in Time Bombs

Renee Klahr, NPR

We returned from vacation this week and it felt like the world as we know it was about to end.

We're not talking about nuclear war or natural disasters. (Although there is that, too.) We're talking about the approaching economic abyss. Amid the hustle and bustle of the summer, Congress has somehow neglected to perform the basic job of passing essential legislation that keeps the U.S. economy going.

For instance, the fiscal year for the United States of America ends this month, and somebody (we're looking at you, Congress) has not yet written a new budget.

Here's something else they didn't do: Our government needs to raise the debt ceiling to pay the bills that it has promised to pay, or else... the entire world economy will suffer. No joke. Nobody took care of that, either. And then there's the DACA program--Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. For years, it's fate has been uncertain because then-President Obama went around Congress to implement it. Now President Trump is rescinding DACA, but he's giving Congress six months to come up with a replacement. That's another ticking time bomb.

On today's show, three time bombs: The debt ceiling, the federal budget, and DACA. All of these ticking clocks are of Congress's making, and if any of them blows up, it could cause suffering around the nation and the world. The clock is ticking. But that might be just what Congress needs.

Music: "Bout That Live," "Tik Tok," and "Funeral Crown." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

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Kenny Malone is a correspondent for NPR's Planet Money podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for WNYC's Only Human podcast. Before that, he was a reporter for Miami's WLRN. And before that, he was a reporter for his friend T.C.'s homemade newspaper, Neighborhood News.
Robert Smith is a host for NPR's Planet Money where he tells stories about how the global economy is affecting our lives.
Julia Dewitt