U.S. could hit debt ceiling earlier than anticipated, report finds

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Chris Usher/AP

The U.S. government may reach its debt ceiling Feb. 15, two weeks earlier than many had anticipated, according to a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The Treasury Department actually reached its borrowing limit on Dec. 31, 2012, according to Secretary Timothy Geithner, but “extraordinary measures” taken by the agency provided enough money to fund government for an estimated two additional months. BPC predicted in its report Monday that Treasury will hit the debt ceiling between Feb. 15 and March 1.

The measures, which provided $200 million in emergency funds, are similar to those Geithner took in the debt ceiling fight in the summer of 2011. At that time, the funds extended the federal government’s ability to pay its bills from May 15 until Aug. 2. BPC predicted the funds would not last as long this time around.

Should the government hit its debt ceiling, Treasury will likely be forced to prioritize its spending, meaning it will pay some of its bills but not others.

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