Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other Congressional leaders Thursday pushing up his previous estimate of when his department would exhaust the “extraordinary measures” to continue to finance government operations. The Treasury Department now believes Congress will need to raise the debt ceiling by Nov. 3 to avoid a default, earlier than previously estimated deadline of Nov. 5.
“At that point, we expect Treasury would be left with less than $30 billion to meet all of the nation’s commitments—an amount far short of net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60 billion,” Lew wrote.
The letter comes as GOP sources were already signaling that Boehner was moving forward with raising the debt ceiling before he gives up his gavel, possibly in a standalone bill.
“For these reasons, I respectfully urge Congress to take action as soon as possible, raise the debt limit without delay, and remove an unnecessary threat to our economy,” Lew’s letter said. “We have learned from the past that failing to act until the last minute can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States. And there is no way to predict the irreparable damage that default would have on global financial markets and the American people.”