Lew urges quick action to raise debt ceiling

WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says he will start using emergency measures after Feb. 7 to avoid a first-ever default on the national debt. He says he expects to exhaust those measures quickly.

Jacob Lew

In this Jan. 16, 2014 file photo, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington about the U.S. economy, financial reform and the his department’s international agenda. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Lew said in a speech Monday that he expected to run out of maneuvering room by the end of this month. Congress suspended the debt limit last October as part of a deal to re-open the government after a partial shutdown. But the suspension ends on Friday.

After that time, Lew can employ various measures to keep the government operating without breaching the debt limit.

But he said because of the time of the year, those measures will probably only last until Feb. 28. He said Congress should act without delay to increase the debt ceiling.

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