Jack Lew: Congress Must Raise the Debt Ceiling by Feb. 27

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Matt Berman
Feb. 7, 2014, 11 a.m.

In a new let­ter to House Speak­er John Boehner, Treas­ury Sec­ret­ary Jac­ob Lew says that Con­gress only has un­til Feb. 27 to raise the debt-ceil­ing without risk­ing de­fault. After that point, Lew says, Treas­ury would be left “with only the cash on hand and any in­com­ing rev­en­ue to meet our coun­try’s com­mit­ments.”

The debt lim­it was pre­vi­ously sus­pen­ded un­til Feb. 7, and Treas­ury is now im­ple­ment­ing “ex­traordin­ary meas­ures” to en­sure that the U.S. is able to pay its bills. Treas­ury is not con­fid­ent, says Lew, that those meas­ures would last for more than 20 days.

It’s not yet clear what ex­actly Con­gress will do on the debt lim­it, but some con­ser­vat­ives are not itch­ing for an­oth­er ma­jor blow up, and Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship has in­sisted that they won’t let the U.S. de­fault. Demo­crats are in­sist­ing on a clean debt-lim­it in­crease, which would mean no ex­tra policy riders could be at­tached to the raise.

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