The United States government has officially hit the debt ceiling limit, prompting the Treasury Department to undertake emergency measures in order to avoid the nation’s first-ever default.
On May 16, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told Congress that the government had reached its $14.3 trillion debt limit. He added that the Treasury would, among other measures, use Federal pension funds in order to make debt payments until early August.
Geithner urged lawmakers to increase the debt limit by Aug. 2 “to protect the full faith and credit of the United States and avoid catastrophic economic consequences for citizens,” according to media reports.
Speaking to financial executives at the Economic Club of Chicago on May 16, Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) reiterated his party’s stance: A deal on raising the debt limit would have to be accompanied by significant spending cuts.
“For every dollar the president wants to raise the debt ceiling, we can show him plenty of ways to cut far more than a dollar of spending,” said Ryan, quoted by Reuters.
Last week, while speaking at the Economic Club of New York, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that spending cuts should exceed the debt-ceiling increase granted by Congress. He emphasized that reductions should be “in the trillions of dollars, not billions.”