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Q&A: Why breaking federal debt limit sparks fear


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Banks also hold much of their capital reserves in Treasurys. If they fell in value after a default, banks would have to cut back on lending.

"A default is an unacceptable event," says Judd Gregg, CEO of SIFMA, a Wall Street lobbying group, and a former Republican senator. "It will have an incredibly negative effect on the markets and ...everyday Americans."

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