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New Treasury secretary’s first job: Avert a crisis

CNN Money

Monday, February 13, 2017

Now that Steven Mnuchin has been confirmed as Treasury secretary, his top priority will have nothing to do with tax reform.

It will be to try and avert a debt ceiling crisis that could upend markets and cause financial chaos — unless Congress acts soon.

The debt ceiling is the country’s legal borrowing limit set by Congress. For years, lawmakers have fought over whether and by how much the ceiling should be increased.

When they can’t agree, they temporarily “suspend” it. And when the suspension ends the debt ceiling resets at the level where it was plus whatever Treasury borrowed in the suspension period…

Mnuchin will soon have to give lawmakers his best estimate of when the “X” date will be. The Bipartisan Policy Center, an outside think tank, calculates that the extraordinary measures could last through July, possibly a little longer…

“It’s not an effective use of government resources,” said Shai Akabas, the Bipartisan Policy Center‘s director of fiscal policy.

KEYWORDS: DEBT LIMIT, SHAI AKABAS, 115TH CONGRESS, STEVEN MNUCHIN