The Washington Post

Treasury will exhaust borrowing authority as early as March, report says

The federal government will exhaust its authority to borrow money as early as March without a deal between lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

A view of the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial. (Alex Brandon/AP). A view of the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Congress and the White House agreed to suspend the nation’s debt limit through Feb. 7 as part of a deal last month to end a shutdown that lasted 16 days and resulted in furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors.

The Treasury can resort to what it describes as “extraordinary measures” to continue borrowing after Feb. 7 if lawmakers do not extend the suspension or raise the debt limit by then as part of ongoing fiscal negotiations, which have shown few signs of progress in recent weeks.

MORE: No budget deal yet in sight

The CBO said those moves would “probably be exhausted in March,” but the agency noted that the timing of tax refunds and receipts between February and April could shift that date to sometime in May or June. Failure to reach a debt deal before then could result in default, which economists predict would lead to economic catastrophe.

The Treasury’s options for extraordinary measures include suspending its investments in a federal-worker retirement program known as the Thrift Savings Plan, halting the issuance of new securities to certain federal-employee retirement funds and stopping the issuance of new securities and savings bonds for state and local governments, according to the CBO.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Josh Hicks · November 20, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.