Treasury Secretary Richard Rubin, who is scrambling for ways to avoid a default on the federal debt, announced a series of moves to enable the government to make $102 billion in loan payments when they come due Wednesday and Thursday. The Treasury will auction securities to raise the money and borrow most of the rest from two government retirement funds. Borrowing allows President Clinton in effect to temporarily raise the debt ceiling while vetoing a GOP bill loaded with politically unpalatable amendments. But the strategy has a price: "They have to pay back the money they borrowed plus the interest lost while the money was gone," says TIME's Adam Zagorin. Still, he adds, it's not yet clear whether paying back the retirement fund money would cost the taxpayers any more than a raising of the debt ceiling would. "The government needs to borrow the money somewhere, and experts disagree on what the costs of this budget fight will be."