Lew warns Congress of February debt ceiling deadline
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Lew warns Congress of February debt ceiling deadline

Lew warns Congress of February debt ceiling deadline

Published: Thursday, 19 Dec 2013

The Obama administration warned Congress on Thursday the government could run out of borrowing room to help pay its bills as soon as February if lawmakers do not move swiftly to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.Debt-300x300

“I respectfully urge Congress to take action to raise the debt limit at the earliest possible moment,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a letter to congressional leaders.

Congress passed a two-year budget deal on Wednesday to trim some spending cuts planned for next year, and the pact reduces the risk of a government shutdown early next year.

But the legislation does nothing to directly address the potential financial crisis that looms if Washington does not raise the debt ceiling soon.

In October, Congress and the administration suspended a $16.7 trillion cap on borrowing until Feb. 7. A new, higher limit will then be set, incorporating borrowing done through that date.

If lawmakers do not raise the limit further, Treasury will be able to juggle money between government accounts to keep just under the new limit for a few weeks.

But Lew said the Treasury would exhaust these so-called extraordinary measures sometime between late February and early March. After then, it would no longer be able to borrow more to cover its expenses.

via Lew warns Congress of February debt ceiling deadline.

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