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. 
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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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