U.S. to exhaust debt limit options in late February

By Jeffrey Rindskopf,

In a recent letter to Congress, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that the U.S. government is likely to exhaust its options to avoid raising the debt ceiling in late February. If Lew's prediction is correct, it would likely mean another partisan standoff in Congress over government spending.

According to Business Insider, Lew urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling before that time arrived to avoid a default on the nation's financial obligations.

“When I previously wrote to you in December, I estimated that Treasury would exhaust extraordinary measures in late February or early March,” Lew wrote in the letter released Wednesday. “Based on our best and most recent information, we believe that Treasury is more likely to exhaust those measures in late February.”

The letter insisted Congress take action to raise the debt limit before that time. Lew also noted that although the government is set to hit the debt ceiling on Feb. 7, the Treasury Department can avoid its obligations for a short period after that time.

Time reports that GOP lawmakers have yet to create a strategy on how to approach the familiar issue this time around. President Obama recently reiterated that he will not be open to haggling over the debt ceiling.

However, Speaker of the House and GOP leader John Boehner's office reported that they would not raise the debt limit without concessions from the opposition.

The Speaker has said that we should not default on our debt, or even get close to it, but a ‘clean’ debt limit increase simply won’t pass in the House,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “We hope and expect the White House will work with us on a timely, fiscally-responsible solution.”

The issue may prove to be divisive in Congress where both parties are focused on political leverage in anticipation for November's midterm elections.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



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