16:04 GMT +323 September 2019
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    A man enters the US Treasury Department building on Pennsylvania Avenue on January 24, 2017, in Washington, DC.

    US Gov't May Lose Right to Borrow Money Due to Debt Ceiling – Treasury

    © AFP 2019 / PAUL J. RICHARDS
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States will be unable to pay its bills later this year unless Congress increases the amount of money the government can borrow, the Department of the Treasury warned on Wednesday.

    “Based on currently available information, Treasury expects that extraordinary measures will be exhausted sometime in the second half of 2019,” Deputy Assistance Secretary Brian Smit said in the agency’s Quarterly Refunding Statement.

    Smit added that it was critical that "Congress act to increase the nation’s borrowing authority, and Treasury urges Congress to act promptly on this important matter.”

    “Extraordinary measures” refers to steps taken by the Treasury to keep the government running since 1 March, when a law suspending the US debt limit expired, the statement said.

    In the past, government shutdowns frequently resulted when Treasury exhausted its borrowing authority and partisan squabbling in Congress blocked legislation needed to increase the US debt limit.

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