Treasury Secretary Jack Lew called on Congress Thursday to move soon to raise the nation’s debt ceiling to ward off any risk of a U.S. default, saying the crunch will come by the end of next month.
The nation’s borrowing limit is suspended until Feb. 7. After that, unless Congress has authorized an increase or has chosen to extend the suspension, the Treasury Department will have to deploy special accounting maneuvers to continue to pay all the country’s bills in full and on time.
Originally Lew had estimated that those “extraordinary measures” could last until sometime between the end of February and early March. But on Thursday, in a public interview at the Council on Foreign Relations, Lew said he now believes it’s most likely he’ll run out of wiggle room by the end of February.