The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned Monday that the United States will exhaust its borrowing authority on Friday without action by Congress to lift the debt limit.

“Time is short. Congress needs to act to extend the nation’s borrowing authority, and it needs to act now,” Lew said in to prepared remarks at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

“In just a matter of days, the temporary suspension of the debt limit will end, and the Treasury Department will have to start using extraordinary measures so the government can continue to meet its obligations,” he said.

Lew noted that the automatic reinstatement of the cap on borrowing after February 7 comes at the beginning of tax filing season, when tax refunds cause net cash outflows “that deplete borrowing capacity very quickly.”

“We now forecast that we are likely to exhaust these measures by the end of this month,” he added.

On the February 7 deadline the borrowing cap will be locked at the total amount borrowed at that date. U.S. debt currently stands at $17.3 trillion.

The Treasury chief welcomed recent congressional compromises that finally delivered a government budget after political stalemate over the issue forced a 16-day partial government shutdown in October.

But he warned Congress against waiting to raise the debt limit at the 11th hour, highlighting that a delay can jeopardize the credibility of the world’s largest economy and roil financial markets.

He noted that in last year’s political gridlock, consumer and business confidence dropped and investors “publicly questioned whether it was too risky to hold certain types of U.S. government debt.”

“It is important to remember that increasing the debt limit is Congress’s responsibility, and Congress’s alone. That is because only Congress has the power to extend the nation’s borrowing authority. No Congress in the history of the United States has failed to meet this responsibility,” Lew said.

The Treasury chief criticized a push by some lawmakers to tie spending cuts to increasing the Treasury’s borrowing authority, noting that “raising the debt limit has nothing to do with new spending. It is about fulfilling spending obligations that Congress has already made and paying bills that have already been incurred.”

Opposition Republican lawmakers are considering policy riders to a debt ceiling bill that would help reduce the debt. President Barack Obama’s Democratic administration has stood steadfastly against the attachment of any conditions to the debt action.

Lew pressed Congress to avoid a self-inflicted wound to the U.S. economy as it enters 2014 with momentum from robust strength in the 2013 fourth quarter.

“This can and should be a breakthrough year for our economy,” he said. “Congress should act quickly to resolve the debt limit without unnecessary delays or political posturing that could snowball into a manufactured crisis that the American people so clearly want us to avoid.”

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

President Joe Biden

Youtube Screenshot

President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law Tuesday afternoon, the big climate change, tax fairness, and health care reconciliation bill that Democrats passed in record time this month. Biden was joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Majority Whip James Clyburn. The big celebration signing will happen next month, when Congress is back in D.C., but enacting the legislation now will start the ball rolling immediately on the many provisions it has to help American consumers and to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Keep reading... Show less

Tucker Carlson

Youtube Screenshot

Fox News host Tucker Carlson claimed on Monday that the Biden administration is hiring “87,000 armed IRS agents to make sure you obey,” a wildly inflammatory and false claim that his network’s White House correspondent debunked a few days earlier.

Carlson returned from last week’s vacation with a wild rant about the FBI’s August 8 search of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and residence, which uncovered 11 sets of classified documents, among other materials, that the former president took with him when he left the White House. The Fox host argued that the court-approved search was part of President Joe Biden’s “war on his own population,” specifically targeting “Trump voters” with “acts of aggression and hostility.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}