2014-02-03T150442Z_444165571_GM1EA231S2001_RTRMADP_3_USA-TREASURY-LEW

Treasury's Lew warns that U.S. default could happen quickly

United States Secretary of the Treasury Lew appears at the Bipartisan Policy Center in WashingtonWashington is due to reinstate a limit on its borrowing at the end of this week and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the administration can use accounting measures to stay under the new cap until the end of February. After that time, “very soon it would not be possible to meet all of the obligations of the federal government,” Lew said at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a prominent Washington think tank. Washington has danced perilously close to the edge of default several times since 2011, and this year some Republicans pledge to extract policy concessions from Democrats before they allow the debt limit to rise. Federal debt ballooned during the 2007-09 recession and most analysts think Washington’s obligations to pay for health care for the elderly will stress the budget more as U.S. society ages.

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