Lew urges Congress to move swiftly on raising the debt limit

The White House has said it will not negotiate on raising the debt limit. 

Lew cautioned that tax revenues and expenditures are unpredictable, making it impossible for Treasury to predict when the government will exhaust any extraordinary measures to continue paying its bills. 


"We cannot afford a repeat of what happened in 2011," he said. 

With tax revenue flowing into the Treasury's coffers at a better rate than expected, that deadline is sometime this fall although there is no specific date. 

"We cannot afford for Congress to wait until some unknowable last minute to resolve this matter on the eve of a deadline. We cannot afford another unnecessary self-inflicted wound."

With a debt-ceiling raise expected to heat up next month, Lew also called on Congress to replace billions arbitrary spending cuts that went into effect in March. 

"Nearly every part of the federal government is coping with an onslaught of these reckless, across-the-board reductions," he said. 

"These cuts are harming the middle class, hampering growth, and hindering job creation in communities, like this one, all across the country."


He touted President Obama's plant to bolster the middle class — create jobs by improving the nation’s infrastructure, expand the manufacturing base and developing innovative technologies at home, while exporting more U.S. product. 

The plan would expand educational opportunities, make college more affordable, fix the government-dominated housing finance system, overhaul the immigration system an strengthen Social Security, Lew said.

During his first trip to California as Treasury secretary, he attended a roundtable with local business leaders at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park and toured the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, a lab where engineers, designers and various technology experts team up to develop innovative products. 

"Spurring this kind of innovation and entrepreneurship is a core part of the president’s strategy to build a better future for the middle class," he said.

He also urged Congress to make permanent the research and experimentation tax credit. 

"There is no reason to keep putting this off," he said. 

"This tax credit propels private investment in research and technology, and it helps unleash innovations in our country that lead to new industries, new jobs and new breakthroughs in production and engineering."