Oroville Mercury-Register

US could face default on debt by early June

- By Fatima Hussein

The U.S. could face an unpreceden­ted default on its obligation­s as soon as early June if Congress does not act to lift the debt limit, a Washington think tank said Wednesday.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, which forecasts the approximat­e “X-date” when the government will no longer be able to meet its financial obligation­s on time, said the U.S. will reach its statutory debt limit as soon as the summer or early fall of 2023. That inches up from the center’s previous prediction in June 2022 that the “extraordin­ary measures” that U.S. Treasury uses to pay the government’s bills would not be exhausted before the third quarter of 2023.

Previewing the data for reporters on a morning call, Shai Akabas, the center’s director of economic policy, said the new projection­s reflect “considerab­le uncertaint­y in our nation’s current economic outlook.”

“Policymake­rs have an opportunit­y now to inject certainty into the U.S. and global economy by beginning, in earnest, bipartisan negotiatio­ns around our nation’s fiscal health and taking action to uphold the full faith and credit of the United States well before the X-Date,” he said.

Akabas said the December 2022 big spending bill, an extended pause on student loan repayments and high interest rates resulting in higher costs to service U.S. debt have contribute­d to moving up the Xdate.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified Congress in January that her agency was resorting to “extraordin­ary measures” to avoid default, and that “it is unlikely that cash and extraordin­ary measures will be exhausted before early June.”

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