When will the US actually hit its debt ceiling?

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Perhaps the least talked-about piece of the “fiscal cliff”—the austerity measures that will hit the United States in the beginning of 2013—is now coming into focus: a new debate about raising the country’s debt ceiling. Congress allows the Treasury to borrow up to a certain point, but given the government’s not-insignificant deficits, legislators have had to raise the debt ceiling 40 times since 1980.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wrote a letter to Congress Wednesday warning that the US will hit the current debt ceiling on December 31, at which point the government starts to have trouble paying its bills. That won’t have caught lawmakers off guard: The Treasury had previously written to tell them that the debt ceiling would be reached near the end of 2012. Geithner added that various “extraordinary measures” can stretch the government’s borrowing limit by about two months. The Congressional Budget Office has said that even with such measures the government will hit the debt ceiling a little earlier: sometime in mid-February.

So what’s the real deadline for raising the ceiling again? Last time it loomed, in 2011, Geithner, using similar extraordinary measures, expected to extend the legal borrowing limit from May 16 to July 8, or 53 days. However, “stronger-than-expected tax returns” delayed the onset to August 2, or 78 days.

Read the rest at Quartz.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.