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Posted at 10:11 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

U.S. will reach debt ceiling at end of March, Geithner warns Congress

By Lori Montgomery

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned Republican lawmakers on Thursday that the government will reach the legal limit on federal borrowing as early as March 31, and that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling it would have "catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades."

In a letter to congressional leaders, Geithner said the national debt now stands at about $13.95 trillion, which is about $335 billion short of the current limit on borrowing. Congress set that limit last year at $14.29 trillion. The secretary says Congress must act to raise the limit "early this year, well before the threat of default becomes imminent."

By Lori Montgomery  | January 6, 2011; 10:11 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, U.S. Economy, U.S. Treasury  
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Next: Economic agenda: Friday, Jan. 7, 2011

Comments

Thanks for the report, but please note that the word is spelled "catastrophe" not "catastrophy" (!) Does no one use spellcheck anymore?!

Posted by: DCSteve1 | January 6, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't he say something to Obama when Obama and his underlings were spending and spending and spending and spending and spending.... Hmmm.

Posted by: georges2 | January 6, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

DCSteve1, you obviously don't know that the Washington Post doesn't require its columnists to spell correctly; it only requires its columnists to be extreme leftist.

Posted by: georges2 | January 6, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Good - don't increase the limit. Let this country go to 'ell. That's what this country deserves.

child labor - no minimum wage - no limit on hours worked in a weak - NO goverment regulation or oversight! Back to the early 20th century!

HURRAY! Let's get this party started.

Posted by: kparc1212 | January 6, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Good - don't increase the limit. Let this country go to 'ell. That's what this country deserves.

child labor - no minimum wage - no limit on hours worked in a week - NO goverment regulation or oversight! Back to the early 20th century!

HURRAY! Let's get this party started.

Posted by: kparc1212 | January 6, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

why did he not warn the dems last year?

Posted by: jimsr121 | January 6, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

So what are Tim, Larry (whoops, he gone) and Ben (the three stooges) and Obama and all the rest of the pseudo-Republicans propose to do. Yes, they have already folded!

Tax the rich, dummies! Inshore (do you know what that means?), dummies! Toss the illegals out, dummies!

Posted by: rusty3 | January 6, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned Republican lawmakers on Thursday that the government will reach the legal limit on federal borrowing as early as March 31..."

Geithner later said, "Had I paid my taxes as the IRS demands under threat of prison for all other Americans the legal limit would have been delayed until April 2."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

They're not worried that Doomsday is coming, Geithner and that it will happen on their watch just like the 2007 - 2008 Economic Crash.

Besides, they will spending their time trying to read and interpret the U.S. Constitution, while also trying to come up with a strategy to repeal the historical HC legislature, and privatize SS and Medicare.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

So if you are upset with your spouse for overspending, you stop paying your mortgage to "get her attention." Try that strategy and see if that helps bring order to your life. Republicans get dumber with each passing year. Most of this deficit they suddenly are so concerned about came about under Republican administrations. Oh you know little things add up, like not providing the revenues to support the Iraq and Afganistan wars, Medicare part D, borrowing $800 billion from the Chinese to give tax cuts. Sudden religion on the deficit is highly suspect, when the only things to be sacrificed are those for the have nots. Protect the rich, protect defense and the budget will still not be balanced. The $100 billion the Republicans propose to cut is less than 10% of the annual deficit, because the Republicans have created a long list of scared cows, not surprisely the fat overfed cows.

Posted by: merrylees | January 6, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The $100 billion the Republicans propose to cut is less than 10% of the annual deficit, because the Republicans have created a long list of scared cows, not surprisely the fat overfed cows.<<<

I don`t know if you meant "scared" or "sacred", but both are appropriate.

Posted by: nanonano1 | January 6, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Good catch nanonano1. I meant sacred, but scared works.

Posted by: merrylees | January 6, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful news!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

RAISE TAXES
to
PAY it OFF
and
There are
NO MORE PROBLEMS

Posted by: pdq31 | January 6, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Are there really no other solutions but to raise the debt, again?

When does it stop?

Posted by: jeffreid2 | January 6, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Geitner warns of default, and Treasury rates go down. The highly sophisticated bond market seems to be able to identify a grain of salt when it sees one.

Posted by: stuartspeer | January 6, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Just so we are all clear on where the debt came from, please review this chart:
US Deficit Chart
Fiscal Years 2000 to 2010
Federal Deficit -fed in billion $ (negative is a surplus)

2000 -236.24
2001 -128.24 Bill Clinton's last budget
2002 157.75 George Bush's first budget
2003 377.59
2004 412.73
2005 318.34
2006 248.19
2007 160.94
2008 458.55
2009 1841.19 George Bush's last budget
2010 1258.44 Barack Obama's first budget

Do you all see the trend, from surplus to deficit starting with George Bush's first budget in FY 2002 (which began in October 2001) and continuing through his last budget in FY 2009 (which began in October 2008) --then, in FY 2010--WOW, 1/3rd of the Bush deficit gone!

So, the Republicans are the folks who ran the credit card up to the limit and it would be great if they would actually do something to pay off the debt they incurred but now, they are backpeddling on even the promise to cut $100 billion and they have only been in power for 24 hours. I am not very hopeful...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

our government likes spending; i think it's time to kneecap these clowns: tell them no more money, make due with what you have.

Posted by: ravioliman6666 | January 6, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I hope while they are reading the Constitution they notice it was put in place to raise taxes to pay for past war debt. Maybe this reading is a good idea after all.

Posted by: SETinVA | January 6, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

To get real change, we'd have to get rid of the the top 10 Dems and Repubs in the US Rep and Senate...then regular elected folks (not the career types) can work out a plan to get our debt under control (start paying it off)...until then, it'll be more of the same....

Posted by: mjandrews8 | January 6, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

We now know that the House Republican strategy for dealing with the deficit is to cook the books and ignore the real numbers. They have set rules that don't count tax cuts for the wealthy as part of the deficit and have stopped using the CBO as the calculator of budget impacts. Costs of legislation will be determined by their resident book-cooker, using advice from special-interest lobbyists.

Enron accounting? No, it's beginning to look like they will make Enron look like a model of financial rectitude.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Abolish farm welfare and junk Star Wars--which never worked in the first place.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

so we reach the debt limit and by god we need more debt by the end of the first quarter ... just wondering if this is in any way linked to the BIS fiscal year ending March 31 ....
I seem to recall some other shenanigans that needed to be implemented by the fiscal year end of the Bank of International Settlements.
Gilbertine is an IMF plug into the People's government ... listen to him speak before Congress ... he says your government ... not our government ...
IMF/BIS is a the elephant in the room no one talks about ...

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | January 6, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Gilbertine=Giethner
nice edit WAPO

Posted by: AmericanSpirit | January 6, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The debt ceiling is entirely a function of tax and budget legislation already passed by the Congress. Failing to raise the ceiling is roughly equivalent to a person who, after buying whatever he or she wants until his credit cards are maxed out, refuses to make the payments.

Posted by: Bob22003 | January 6, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Not a problem Geithner. Time for Obama to prioritize his wish list and then figure out what he wants to volunteer first to be cut. That debt ceiling needs to remain and we need to start dismantling this big bloated federal govt. The days of fiscal irresponsibility are over. Republicans will even be kind and allow Obama to prioritize and maybe he can keep what is nearest and dearest to him and his party. The free spending is over.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 6, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I've asked this before, and I'll KEEP asking it until someone officially puts out an answer:

WHY are Tim Geithner, and his co-conspirators in the financial crisis, headlined by Chris Dodd, Barney "Lips" Frank, Ben Bernanke, Chuck Schumer, and others, NOT IN PRISON instead of in positions to do more serious damage to the economy than they already planned and executed!!!

rdog

Posted by: RDog1 | January 6, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

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