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Leavenworth businesses discuss possible debt default

Leavenworth shops
Posted at 5:22 PM, May 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-22 19:26:14-04

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Businesses in downtown Leavenworth are settling into slower summer months as the sunshine brings casual customers throughout the day. 

“We have just kind of a normal flow to the year that we’re used to,” said Queen’s Pantry Teas owner Kathy Gentzler.

The first city in Kansas was built after Fort Leavenworth, tying the town and military base together.

“Lots of people in this town work on [the] base, and that’s their livelihood,” said resident Roma Keller. “It would really hurt the town because the military is really our backbone.”

But shop owners along downtown’s busiest streets aren’t worried yet.

“We have just kind of stayed the course, and if we need to make an adjustment when the time comes, we will pivot at that point," Gentzler said

If the United States defaults on its loans, the treasury will decide who gets paid. In less than a month, the U.S. has $4 billion of payroll to cover for just the military alone.

Residents and business owners alike tell KSHB 41 they plan to move forward with a positive outlook after years of struggle.

“I think that kind of helps us to look at the situation and go, That was really bad (COVID-19 pandemic) and we made it through,'” Gentzler said. “That gives us hope for the future.”  

Congress has just a few short days to raise the debt ceiling or risk defaulting on loans. There is a hard deadline of June 1, according to the treasury secretary.