US Treasury Secretary Urges Congress to Raise Debt Ceiling

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday called on the Republican-controlled Congress to lift the U.S. debt limit “as soon as possible” so the government can pay federal employee benefits and other obligations.

In a letter to congressional leaders and key committee chairmen, Mnuchin said the Treasury Department would continue to suspend payments into federal employee retiree, health and disability funds through Feb. 28.

Congress must raise the nation’s debt ceiling to avoid a government default. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the U.S. Treasury would exhaust its borrowing options and could run out of funds to pay its bills by late March if lawmakers do not act.



The request comes as Congress is already wrestling with federal spending for the current fiscal year and faces the possibility of another government shutdown, with approved funding due to run out on Feb. 8.

Thanks to deep partisan divisions and intraparty squabbles, lawmakers have passed a series of short-term funding bills since the fiscal year that began last Oct. 1 but have been unable to agree on spending for the rest of that year, which ends Sept. 30. The government shutdown earlier this month for three days when Republicans and Democrats failed to find common ground.

via CNBC

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza