Hitting the debt limit: What bills would be paid? - Article Photos 3/4

FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2011 file photo, President Barack Obama arrives to speak in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, after the Senate passed the debt ceiling legislation. Back in the summer of 2011, as a debt crisis loomed much like one does again today, Obama issued a clear threat to Republicans: Without an agreement to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, older Americans might not get their Social Security checks. He wasn’t the first to issue such a warning in the face of a debt fight between an administration and Congress. The federal government could run out of cash to pay all its bills in full as early as Feb. 15, according to one authoritative estimate, and congressional Republicans want significant spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. Obama, forced to negotiate an increase in 2011, has vowed not to negotiate again. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)