Report: Debt ceiling to be reached sooner than expected
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's signature appears on a freshly printed $20 bill. / Mark Wilson/Getty Images
The U.S. has just over a month until its borrowing limit is maxed out, which could possibly prevent the government from paying some of its bills, according to a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
The authors of the report say the debt limit could be reached as early as February 15 but can happen anywhere between that date and March 1. They took into consideration the announcement by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner late last month that the debt ceiling was reached on December 31 but that the Treasury Department implemented "extraordinary measures" to prolong the consequences by rearranging some money and funds. Geithner's actions freed up $201 billion of federal funds to keep the government from defaulting on its bills.
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The Bipartisan Policy Center notes that the federal government has a lot of expenditures in the month of February, including starting to pay out tax returns. The report also details what could happen if the debt ceiling was reached, stating the federal government would have to prioritize spending and default on some of its bills.
The report comes as the new Congress prepares to reconvene next week and the president gears up for his second inauguration. Both Mr. Obama and congressional Republicans are primed for a fight on how to solve the debt limit debate - the president said over the weekend he won't negotiate over raising the nation's debt limit, saying "one thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they've already racked up."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meanwhile, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, "We simply cannot increase the nation's borrowing limit without committing to long-overdue reforms to spending programs that are the very cause of our debt."
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