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The Debt Ceiling Deadline Is Feb. 27

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AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Lew hadn't previously provided a specific date for Congress to raise the debt limit or risk default, although he had said "late February." The U.S. hit the statutory debt limit deadline on Friday, Feb. 7, before extraordinary measures.

"I respectfully urge Congress to move as quickly as possible, raise the debt limit, and provide certainty to the economy and to the financial markets," Lew wrote.

Boehner said Republicans want fiscal concessions in order to raise the debt ceiling, but he doesn't know what to demand. He has repeatedly said default isn't an option. The White House and Democratic leaders say lifting the federal borrowing limit "cleanly" is non-negotiable.

Jack Lew Debt Limit Letter to Boehner