By Peter Schroeder - 07/01/11 02:41 PM EDT
Congress will not get any additional time to hammer out a deal to raise the debt limit from the Treasury Department, which announced Friday that Aug. 2 is still the latest it can continue borrowing funds without a boost.
“The Treasury Department continues to project that the United States will exhaust its borrowing authority under the debt limit on August 2, 2011," said Mary Miller, the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial markets. "Secretary Geithner urges Congress to avoid the catastrophic economic and market consequences of a default crisis by raising the statutory debt limit in a timely manner.”
Holding firm on that date comes as a bit of surprise, after weeklong speculation that the Treasury might push back the deadline slightly, as it has in the past.
"I have simply heard that they may be announcing that they can expand this to a later time in August. As I said, that wouldn't be surprising to me," he said.
Also on Tuesday, the Bipartisan Policy Center estimated the deadline could be extended as far as Aug. 9, while noting a failure to raise it would lead to a 44 percent cut in federal spending.
The Treasury not budging on the final date may disarm one argument Republicans have been using in the debt-limit debate; that the deadline is not as firm as the Treasury indicates.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) dismissed the Treasury's timeline earlier in the week, calling it "some artificial date created by the Treasury Secretary" in an interview for Sean Hannity's program on Fox News.