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State chamber cheers deal to avoid federal default

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Lawmakers in Washington announced a deal to reopen the government and avoid a default, ending the weeks-long saga that had observers nervous about the consequences of the federal government being unable to pay its bills.

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Tom Bracken cheered the news in Trenton.

"To have the U.S. default on payments would've been a huge scar," Bracken said.

Wednesday was the last day the federal Treasury could keep the nation under its borrowing limit through the use of accounting techniques. Beginning Thursday, it would have had to pay the nation's bills with a reserve of $30 billion in cash, along with the daily revenue it's able to collect.

The deal raises the debt limit, averting such a crisis.

Bracken questioned the leadership in Washington for even letting the country get near the brink of defaulting.

"It's a sad commentary that it came this close but if it's rectified, I guess we're OK for the time being," Bracken said.

In Trenton, Bracken said he noticed a few effects of the shutdown.

"I've noticed a whole lot less traffic," he said. "A lot more open parking spaces around the city of Trenton in the last couple of weeks."

But in a city known for its state workers, Bracken said the shutdown made it evident to him there are also a good deal of federal employees in Trenton, "probably more here than meets the eye."

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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