U.S. Might Lack Cash to Pay All Bills Feb. 15, Policy Group Says

The U.S. might run out of funds to pay all its bills as early as Feb. 15 after it exhausts emergency measures undertaken when it hit the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling at the end of last month, the Bipartisan Policy Center said today.

The U.S. Treasury Department has started using so-called “extraordinary measures” to keep funding the government. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Dec. 26 that “under normal circumstances” those safety lines would last for about two months and create about $200 billion of “headroom.”

“Based on financial data from Treasury, we estimate that the government will be unable to pay all of its bills as early as Feb. 15,” Steve Bell, senior director of the economic policy project at the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center, said in an e-mailed statement today. “We have less time to solve this problem than many realize.”

Republicans in Congress want to focus on spending cuts in the current discussion over raising the debt limit, while Democrats counter that issues including taxes have to be a part of the negotiations.

Treasury Department spokesman Matthew Anderson today referred to the Geithner’s Dec. 26 letter as the latest guidance.

The Bipartisan Policy Center seeks policy solutions in health care, energy, national and homeland security, transportation and the economy, according to its website.

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