Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is telling Congress to raise the debt limit before Feb. 7 in order to “ensure orderly financing of the government.”
Lew sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday saying action is urgent.
He said if Congress doesn’t act by Feb. 7, the Treasury Department will have to use extraordinary measures to pay the bills.
Such measures would only work until the end of February, Lew wrote, so Congress must act by then at the latest.
“Protecting the full faith and credit of the United States is the responsibility of Congress, because only Congress can extend the nation's borrowing authority. No Congress in our history has failed to meet that responsibility,” Lew wrote the House speaker.
Congress is on recess this week and there was no immediate response from Boehner. But Boehner said at a news conference last week that the U.S. should not even get close to defaulting on its debt
He didn’t address whether Republicans would demand concessions from Democrats in return for agreeing to raise the debt limit.