WASHINGTON – The nation’s debt limit must be raised by Oct. 17 to avoid a potential default, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told congressional leaders Wednesday in setting a firmer deadline for lawmakers to break a stalemate.
He urged Congress to “act immediately” to raise the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit or risk “catastrophic” results. Setting a specific date could help force action by lawmakers, who often wait until the last minute on highly controversial legislation.
Last month, Lew gave a vague mid-October date for when the Treasury would run out of the so-called extraordinary measures it has been using to juggle the nation’s finances and continue borrowing after the debt limit technically was reached in May.
But in a letter Wednesday, Lew said more information about revenues allowed him to project that the Treasury would run out of borrowing authority no later than Oct. 17.
“If we have insufficient cash on hand, it would be impossible for the United States of America to meet all of its obligations for the first time in our history,” Lew said.
Los Angeles Times