Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned congressional leaders Wednesday that the U.S. is on track to default on its debt sometime in October if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.
Yellen said the Treasury would likely run out of cash in the coming weeks and exhaust its “extraordinary” spending measures to keep the country within its legal borrowing limit.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned congressional leaders Friday that failing to raise the debt ceiling would risk “irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans.”
In a letter, Yellen said that she did not know how long the Treasury Department could prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debt, which could carry catastrophic economic consequences. The debt ceiling is set to expire on Aug. 1.
The federal government is on track to reach the statutory debt limit in the fall, which would trigger a government shutdown, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate.
The U.S. is projected to reach the debt ceiling of $28.5 trillion by October or November, a CBO report released Wednesday stated. If Capitol Hill lawmakers don’t reach an agreement on raising the limit higher, the government could undergo its third shutdown in less than four years.
“If the debt limit remained unchanged, the ability to borrow using those measures would ultimately be exhausted, and the Treasury would probably run out of cash sometime in the first quarter of the next fiscal year (which begins on October 1, 2021), most likely in October or November,” the CBO report said.