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Geithner Says U.S. Using ‘Extraordinary Measures’ on Debt

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner reiterated that Congress should move “as quickly as possible” to raise the federal debt limit.

“Because Congress has not yet acted, we have now set in motion a series of extraordinary measures that will give Congress some additional time to raise the debt limit,” Geithner said in a statement today on the release of Social Security and Medicare Trustee reports. “I want to again encourage Congress to move as quickly as possible.”

The U.S. is scheduled to reach the $14.29 trillion debt limit May 16 and can keep borrowing until about Aug. 2 by taking steps that include declaring a “debt-issuance suspension period” under the statute governing the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, Geithner said last week. That will allow the U.S. to redeem existing Treasury securities held by that fund as investments.

Democrats and Republicans are debating how much to trim the deficit and whether to extend the debt ceiling. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said yesterday he wants “significant” near-term cuts in federal agency budgets paired with longer-term reductions to programs like Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for his support for an increase in the debt limit.

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