Treasury now expects to hit debt limit by April 15

Some Republicans want promises to cut spending in exchange for a debt-limit boost, while others are pushing for any debt-limit hike to be accompanied by a balanced-budget amendment.

Meanwhile, administration officials led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have warned lawmakers that the debt limit is not something to be used for political gain, warning of catastrophic economic consequences for the global economy if it is reached. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has similarly warned that the debt limit is too serious an issue to be used for political gamesmanship.

Some Republicans have dismissed such rhetoric as pure scare tactics, and are even pushing bills they argue would allow the government to hit the limit and avoid the worst consequences, such as a default of foreign-held U.S. debt.

The Treasury will update its timeline for the debt limit at the beginning of April.