On December 8, 2017, the debt limit suspension authorized by Congress’s September budget deal expired, and the debt limit was reinstated at $20.5 trillion. Absent legislative action, BPC projects that the debt limit “X Date” – when the Treasury Department can no longer meet the federal government’s financial obligations in full and on time – will arrive sometime in March 2018. As of December 8 Treasury had about $69 billion in cash-on-hand and an estimated $270 billion in extraordinary measures available. BPC’s projection is similar to the recent Congressional Budget Office projection that the Treasury Department would run short on cash in late March or early April.
BPC’s debt limit projections carry significant uncertainty due to the unpredictable nature of the federal government’s cash flows and the possibility of unforeseen changes in either fiscal policy or economic conditions. BPC will continue to monitor issues that could affect the debt limit “X Date” and publish updates to the projection as warranted.