Secretary Jacob J. Lew delivered remarks today at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington where he discussed the urgent need for Congress to extend the nation's borrowing authority. Raising the debt limit would allow Treasury to pay bills that Congresses and Presidents of both parties have already approved, and the Secretary noted that delaying action “can cause harm to our economy, rattle financial markets, and hurt taxpayers.”
During his remarks, Secretary Lew explained that the time for Congress to act is short:
Last year, Congress passed a temporary suspension of the debt limit that lasts only through February 7, which is the end of this week. After that, in the absence of Congressional action, Treasury will be forced to use extraordinary measures to continue to finance the government.
…Now, unlike other recent periods when we have had to use extraordinary measures to continue financing the government, this time these measures will give us only a brief span of time before we run out of borrowing authority… We now forecast that we are likely to exhaust these measures by the end of this month.
Secretary Lew also noted that “the table is now set for us to build on the economic progress that we have made over the last five years—and it is incumbent on Washington to be part of the solution, and to avoid the brinksmanship of recent years that has done so much to diminish economic momentum.”
Watch his full remarks below, courtesy of the Bipartisan Policy Center, and read them here.
Brandi Hoffine is a Spokesperson for Domestic Finance at the United States Department of the Treasury.