Debt debate deadlines: When will we run out of money?

What deadlines matter in the debt debate?

• Saturday, July 16: President Obama has asked congressional leaders to present their final offer in the negotiations over reducing the deficit. If there is no sign of agreement, Obama says they will have to consider other options to avoid a potential default on U.S. obligations.

• Friday, July 22: The White House team says they must have an agreement in place to reduce the deficit and raise the federal limit on borrowing. Obama says he needs time to get any agreement through Congress, dealing with the legislative calendar and giving leaders in Congress time to corral their troops.

• Tuesday, Aug. 2: The Treasury Department is projected to run out of money, unable to borrow more than the $14.3 trillion debt limit without new action by Congress to lift it. The Treasury says it is the absolute last day to raise the federal limit on borrowing.

• Wednesday, Aug. 3: The government is set to spend $32 billion, including sending out more than 25 million Social Security checks at a cost of $22 billion. The government is only set to receive $12 billion, causing a $20 billion shortfall. The administration says that because it won’t be able to pay some of its obligations, it will default on this day without an increase in the debt limit. Ratings agencies might also downgrade.

• Thursday, Aug. 4: Nearly $100 billion in Treasury bonds come due. Theoretically, Treasury can issue new bonds to pay off the old ones. But if the markets are in chaos as a result of a downgrade, default or nonpayment, the government could have severe trouble rolling over the debt.

Zachary A. Goldfarb is policy editor at The Washington Post.
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