US Reaches Debt Ceiling, Forcing Treasury Into ‘Extraordinary Measures’

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The United States has officially reached its statutory debt limit (pdf) of $31.381 trillion on Jan. 19 as was predicted by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a letter to Congress (pdf) on Jan. 13. The Treasury Department will now have to implement extraordinary measures to prevent default on the national debt.

In her letter, Yellen explained that the debt limit is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.

“Presidents and Treasury Secretaries of both parties have made clear that the government must not default on any obligation of the United States,“ Yellen wrote.

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