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10 March, 2017

Treasury urges Congress to raise US debt limit to avoid default

The US national debt will reach a statutory limit next week, forcing the Treasury to halt sales of certain securities and rely on “extraordinary measures” to continue paying government bills until Congress can raise or suspend the limit this fall.

The 2015 law that suspended the debt ceiling will expire at midnight on March 15, at which point the US national debt will be just over $20 trillion.

Treasury anticipates that it will need to start taking certain extraordinary measures in order to temporarily prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations,” Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote to Congress in a letter dated March 8 and made public on Thursday.

One of those measures would be suspending the sale of state and local government series (SLGS) securities “until the debt limit is either raised or suspended,” Mnuchin wrote.

I encourage Congress to raise the debt limit at the first opportunity,” he added.

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