Debt Limit Will Hit in October

Followers of Congress should build some flexibility into their Columbus Day travel plans.

Leadership on both sides of the Capitol said it was too early to discuss changes to the schedule, but there’s no way lawmakers would be out of town for a government default. The House and Senate are scheduled to take a regular October break the week of the Columbus Day holiday, which falls on Oct. 14.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced in a letter circulated publicly shortly after the stock markets closed Monday that in mid-October, the Treasury would exhaust the “extraordinary measures” to keep the government from overextending its borrowing authority.

“At that point, the United States will have reached the limit of its borrowing authority, and Treasury would be left to fund the government with only the cash we have on hand on any given day. The cash balance at that time is currently forecasted to be about $50 billion,” Lew wrote.

The upcoming spending debates on Capitol Hill will almost converge, setting up a tough slog in September and October.

Copies of the letter went to House and Senate leaders in both parties, and it was copied to all other lawmakers, including the chairmen and ranking members of the two tax-writing committees.

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