Geithner Reaffirms Aug. 2 U.S. Debt Ceiling Deadline

on July 01 2011 12:10 PM
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

The nation's highest ranking fiscal official Friday reaffirmed the Aug. 2 deadline for raising the U.S. debt ceiling -- urging Congress to act soon.

In a statement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner implored Congress to act to avoid the catastrophic economic and market consequences of a default crisis by raising the statutory debt limit in timely manner.

President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats have been at loggerheads with Congressional Republicans over the proper mix of spending cuts and tax increases that should accompany the raising of the debt ceiling.

Republicans argue that Congress should substantially cut government spending to cut the budget deficit. Meanwhile, Democrats insist that revenue increases must be a part of the talks for any meaningful and enduring deficit reduction to occur.

The U.S. Government borrowing authority ends on August 2. A failure by Democrats and Republicans to reach a deal on the debt ceiling could result in an event most economists for decades thought was unfathomable -- a default by the largest and most technologically advanced economy in the world.

On Aug. 4, the U.S. Treasury Department is due to pay off $30 billion in maturing short-term debt. In theory, the United States could prioritize debt payments, but U.S. Treasury Secretary warned lawmakers in Congress Wednesday that the prioritization tactic would still cause investors to shun U.S. Treasury securities, commonly known as Treasuries.

Geithner has also repeatedly underscored that failing to raise the debt ceiling will have no constructive outcomes for the nation's fiscal condition, the task of deficit reduction, and U.S. and global stock and bond markets.

Republicans argue that Congress should substantially cut government spending to cut the budget deficit. Meanwhile, Democrats insist that revenue increases must be a part of the talks for any meaningful and enduring deficit reduction to occur.

Further, S&P is not the only credit rating agency to express increasing concern about the inability of Democrats and Republicans to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings also have said a failure to raise the debt ceiling may have an adverse effect on global confidence in American securities.

 

More News from IBT MEDIA