Yellen steps up pressure on Congress to tackle debt ceiling

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stepped up pressure on Congress to tackle the debt ceiling on Friday, saying the pandemic has muddied the accounting tricks the government has used in the past to avoid default. payment of its debt.

A 2019 agreement to suspend the debt limit expires on August 1, and Yellen has told bipartisan House and Senate leaders that she will need to take “extraordinary measures” to avoid default.

“The Treasury is unable to provide a precise estimate of the duration of the extraordinary measures,” Yellen said in his letter.

She said the problems could start as soon as lawmakers return from their summer vacation in mid-September.

“For example, on October 1 alone, liquidity and extraordinary measures are expected to decline by around $ 150 billion due to large mandatory payments, including an investment in retirement and health care linked to the Department of Defense “she said.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday that President Joe Biden expects Congress to act in a bipartisan fashion to raise the debt ceiling.

It is a pointy beard aimed at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Who has said he believes all Republicans will vote against renewing Washington’s ability to borrow money. silver.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer called McConnell’s statement “shameless and cynical.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimated earlier this week that the government could run out of cash to pay its bills as early as October.

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