North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad is threatening to hold up a vote on raising the debt ceiling if the rest of the Senate doesn't agree to form a deficit commission that goes around normal congressional procedure (and give him a lollipop). If he manages to obstruct the increase in the debt ceiling then the United States will soon lack the money to meet its various obligations, including interest payments on the debt. Any senator could threaten to force a default to get their pet project, but most other senators have not resorted to such extraordinary efforts at blackmail. It would have been useful if the Post had more clearly explained Mr. Conrad's threat to readers.
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