Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to Congress: We’ll Hit the Debt-Ceiling By Early March

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testifies before the US Senate Finance Committee about the debt limit on October 10, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. 
National Journal
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Brian Resnick
Dec. 19, 2013, 11:45 a.m.

For the first time in four years, both houses of Con­gress passed a budget. The grand com­prom­ise that had eluded the body every few months (and left a wake of ex­as­per­ated tem­pers and a 17-day gov­ern­ment shut­down) was fi­nally reached. Phew, right? We’re done with this. No more cliffs or fisc­al show­downs.

Well maybe not.

Treas­ury Sec­ret­ary Jack Lew writes John Boehner Thursday re­mind­ing him that the na­tion’s debt lim­it was only ex­ten­ded through Feb­ru­ary 7, 2014. “When that sus­pen­sion peri­od ends, the United States will reach the debt lim­it again,” Lew writes. “At that time, in the ab­sence of Con­gres­sion­al ac­tion, Treas­ury would be forced to take ex­traordin­ary meas­ures to con­tin­ue to fin­ance the gov­ern­ment on a tem­por­ary basis.” In the case of no ac­tion, “we would be able to ex­tend the na­tion’s bor­row­ing au­thor­ity only un­til late Feb­ru­ary or early March 2014,” says Lew.

And thus, it starts again.

Like last time, it may not be so easy to get a deal. “I doubt if the House or, for that mat­ter, the Sen­ate is will­ing to give the pres­id­ent a clean debt ceil­ing in­crease,” Mc­Con­nell told re­port­ers this week. “Every time the pres­id­ent asks us to raise the debt ceil­ing is a good time to try to achieve something im­port­ant for the coun­try.”

Read the full let­ter here:

Sec­ret­ary Lew’s Let­ter to Con­gress


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