The United States could plunge back into recession if inaction in Washington forced a debt default, according to a new analysis that arrives as the country reaches the legal limits of its borrowing authority.
Some 640,000 U.S. jobs would vanish, the housing market's woes would deepen, stocks would fall and lending activity would tighten if the country were unable to pay its bills, according to a report by the centrist think tank Third Way due out on Monday.
The Treasury Department is expected to hit its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit on Monday, making it unable to access the bond markets again. Lawmakers from both parties say they won't approve a further increase in borrowing authority without steps to keep debt under control.
Treasury officials have warned of "catastrophic" consequences if Congress does not approve a further debt-ceiling increase by then, but have declined to say exactly what would happen.