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Treasury Secretary Warns Debt Limit May Be Hit Sooner

January 24, 2014— In a Jan. 22 letter to congressional leaders, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned the United States is likely to exhaust its borrowing authority in late February, earlier than previously estimated.

Lew’s letter states, “The best course of action would be for Congress to act before February 7 to ensure orderly financing of the government. In the absence of Congressional action, Treasury would be forced to use extraordinary measures to continue to finance the government on a temporary basis.”

“Based on our best and most recent information, we believe that Treasury is more likely to exhaust those measures in late February,” the letter continues. In December, Lew had estimated the borrowing limit might not be reached until early March.

The continuing resolution legislation [P.L. 113-46] that ended the government shutdown in October also suspended the statutory limit on the federal debt through Feb. 7 [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 18, 2013].

Lew’s letter, which was sent to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), also notes that the length of time that the extraordinary measures can extend the nation’s borrowing authority is significantly shorter than it was in 2011 and 2013.


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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