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On October 17, the US government will no longer be able to fund itself. In order to meet the spending obligations that Congress has already debated and appropriated, House Republicans will have to agree to raise the debt ceiling. Though every partisan and policy-maker agrees that the failure to meet debt obligations would be catastrophic, Republicans, once again, are holding the economy hostage by tying the vote to a series of conservative legislative principles.

This week, House Republicans leaked their demands—the ransom note includes, among other things, a one year delay to the Affordable Care Act, progress on the Keystone pipeline and tax reform measures based on Paul Ryan budget. As MSNBC’s Chris Hayes notes, “Republicans are blackmailing the American people with the agenda that lost the last presidential election by 3.5 million votes.”

—Jake Scobey-Thal