The U.S. government is expected to breach the debt ceiling sometime between late February and early March, according to a letter sent to Congress by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Monday.
Geithner requested that the federal debt limit be raised as soon as possible so as to not throw the nation into default, and in so doing, threaten payments on entitlement programs.
"The U.S. government makes approximately 80 million separate payments per month," Geithner said. "These include payments for Social Security; Supplemental Security Income; Medicare; Medicaid; national security needs, including military salaries, military retirement, veterans’ benefits, and defense contractors; income tax refunds; federal employee salaries and retirement; law enforcement and operation of the justice system; unemployment insurance; disaster relief; goods and services sold to the government under contracts with small and large businesses; and many others. If Congress does not act to extend borrowing authority, all of these payments would be at risk."