Mnuchin Makes 2nd Emergency Debt Move 12/12 06:23
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he is making a second
emergency move to keep the government from going above the debt limit while
awaiting congressional action to raise the threshold.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he is
making a second emergency move to keep the government from going above the debt
limit while awaiting congressional action to raise the threshold.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Mnuchin said he will not be able to
fully invest in a large civil service retirement and disability fund. Skipped
investments will be restored once the debt limit has been raised, he said.
In September, Congress agreed to suspend the debt limit, allowing the
government to borrow as much as it needed. But that suspension ended Friday.
The government said the debt subject to limit stood at $20.46 trillion on
Friday. Mnuchin has said he will employ various "extraordinary measures" to buy
time until Congress raises the limit.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated in a recent report that Mnuchin
has enough maneuvering room to stay under the limit until late March or early
If Congress has not acted before Mnuchin has exhausted his bookkeeping
maneuvers, the government would be unable to borrow the money it needs to meet
its day-to-day obligations, including sending out Social Security and other
benefit checks and making interest payments on the national debt.
In August 2011, a standoff between Congress and the Obama administration
over raising the borrowing limit came down to the wire and prompted the
Standard & Poor's credit rating agency to impose the first-ever downgrade of
the government's credit rating.
Raising the debt limit is a separate issue from the need for Congress to
pass a spending bill to cover government operations. A failure to pass a
spending bill triggers a partial government shutdown but does not carry the
potential catastrophic market disruptions that a failure to raise the debt
In his new letter, Mnuchin said, "I respectfully urge Congress to protect
the full faith and credit of the United States by acting to increase the
statutory debt limit as soon as possible."