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Lew Says Investors May Be Too Optimistic on Debt-Limit Deal

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew told Congress in an Aug. 26 letter that lawmakers need to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling by the middle of October, when he expects that the Treasury Department will have about $50 billion left to fund the government. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said investor confidence that a deal can be struck on the debt limit is probably “greater than it should be.”

Lew, who spoke at the Bloomberg Markets 50 Summit in New York today, repeated that President Barack Obama won’t negotiate with congressional Republicans on increasing the debt limit.

“There’s a sense that 2011 was a terrible experience, and nobody should do that again,” he said. “People have to take seriously that Congress has a lot of work to do in a short period of time.”

Lew told Congress in an Aug. 26 letter that lawmakers need to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling by the middle of October, when he expects that the Treasury Department will have about $50 billion left to fund the government. That figure is probably smaller now, he said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Katz in New York at ikatz2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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