Yellen says Treasury is taking extraordinary measures to keep away from default as U.S. hits debt restrict
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen holds a information convention within the Money Room on the U.S. Treasury Division in Washington, U.S. July 28, 2022.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
The Treasury Division began taking so-called extraordinary measures to maintain paying the federal authorities’s payments because the U.S. hit its debt restrict Thursday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen mentioned.
In a letter addressed to Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Yellen mentioned the Treasury will droop new investments within the Civil Service Retirement and Incapacity Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Well being Advantages Fund from Thursday till June 5, 2023. However she warned each strikes are topic to “appreciable uncertainty” if Congress doesn’t go a invoice to extend the $31.four trillion debt ceiling.
The Treasury secretary advised lawmakers Friday that she believes the extraordinary steps might enable the federal government to pay its obligations till early June. Yellen final week urged Congress to “act in a well timed method to extend or droop the debt restrict,” as failing to take action might result in a first-ever default on U.S. debt and trigger financial injury around the globe.
The White Home additionally urged Congress on Friday to lift the debt ceiling “with out situation.”
The Treasury secretary warned final week that the U.S. authorities would hit the statutory debt ceiling on Thursday, after which extraordinary measures could be taken to maintain the federal government from defaulting on its debt obligations.
The U.S. authorities has not defaulted on its debt, however the debt ceiling has been raised 22 instances from 1997 to 2022, in keeping with the Authorities Accountability Workplace. The Biden administration will prioritize negotiations for a brand new invoice to extend the debt restrict after the mid-April tax deadline, in keeping with a senior White Home official.
Concessions sought by the brand new Republican Home majority have led to considerations that Congress might have bother elevating the debt ceiling earlier than June. Sure GOP lawmakers have mentioned they wish to slash spending as a part of an settlement to extend the borrowing restrict.
Some Republican representatives have mentioned main spending cuts to key authorities applications like Medicare and Social Safety had been a part of the negotiations that helped McCarthy safe assist from hard-line conservatives and win the speakership.
McCarthy has known as for cuts to keep away from bankrupting applications like Medicare and Social Safety.
“You could not simply hold growing it,” he mentioned on the Fox Information Channel program “Fox Information Sunday.” “Let’s sit down and alter our habits for the nice of America. As a result of what we will do is bankrupt this nation and bankrupt these entitlements if we do not change their habits at this time.”
Different Home Republicans, corresponding to Reps. Ralph Norman of South Carolina and Chip Roy of Texas, have additionally demanded spending decreases forward of any debt restrict improve.
“You solely have so many leverage and negotiating factors. The debt ceiling is a kind of,” Roy mentioned.
White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre advised reporters this week that President Joe Biden is unwilling to tie situations to debt ceiling negotiations.
“That is simply one other try by congressional Republicans to power unpopular cuts on applications essential to seniors, the center class and dealing households. Congress must act and achieve this rapidly. There isn’t any excuse for political brinkmanship,” Jean-Pierre mentioned Tuesday.
In a press release launched Thursday, Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., mentioned American households can pay the worth for “gratuitous partisan politics” over the debt ceiling improve.
“This isn’t difficult: if the MAGA GOP stops paying our nation’s payments, People would be the ones to pay the worth,” Schumer mentioned. “Political brinkmanship with the debt restrict could be a large hit to native economies, American households and could be nothing lower than an financial disaster by the hands of the Republicans.”
The debt ceiling limits the extent of debt the federal authorities can assume. Lifting it ensures the federal government can proceed to borrow — not spend — to fulfill its budgeted targets.
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