U.S. Treasury’s Mnuchin urges Congress to lift debt limit before recess

Reuters/David Lawder/07-26-17

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday urged Congress to raise the federal debt limit before lawmakers leave Washington for their August recess to avoid higher interest costs to taxpayers and market uncertainty about a potential default.

Mnuchin told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that maintaining U.S. creditworthiness was of “utmost importance” and that the United States must pay its bills on time.

“As I’ve suggested in the past, based upon our best estimate at the time, we do have funding through September, but I have urged Congress to take this up before they leave for the recess,” Mnuchin said.

The last extension of the federal borrowing limit expired in March with total debt of around $20 trillion, but the Treasury has extended its ability to issue debt by employing extraordinary cash management measures, including deferring reinvestment in federal employee pension funds and suspending sales of savings bonds and debt instruments to state and local governments.

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