The Treasury regularly employs extraordinary measures when it reaches its borrowing cap as a way to stay current on necessary obligations and avoid default. The government is currently employing such measures after having reached the $16.4 trillion borrowing cap on Dec. 31. The measures, which include things such as temporarily not investing in retirement accounts for federal employees, are expected to keep the government paying all its bills at least until mid-February.
The exact amount of time these measures can buy can vary, depending on the exact cash flow of the federal government at a particular point of time, but typically they are expected to provide at least two months of accommodation.
The White House gave its tempered blessing to this approach Tuesday, saying it would not oppose the legislation if it reached the president's desk for his signature. And Senate Democrats announced Wednesday that they would also take up the measure if the House passes it.