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The government can hit the limit and avoid a first-ever default because that can only occur if payments to bondholders are actually missed. And those obligations, the Republicans say, can be met with the tax revenue that will continue to pour into the Treasury, regardless of whether Congress raises the borrowing cap. All of the government’s other bills -- including those for defense contracting work, office supplies and highway maintenance, and to cover federal employees’ paychecks -- are secondary, they contend, and can be delayed or cut without panicking financial markets.