Obama Lew

President Obama with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew

We now have an official debt limit deadline. Today, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent Congress a letter informing them there will not be enough cash on hand to pay all our bills starting October 17. That is the date by which Congress needs to raise the debt limit or risk causing significant financial damage. From Lew’s Letter:

Since August, we have received quarterly corporate and individual tax receipts and additional information regarding the activities of certain large trust funds, including military retirement trust funds. Treasury now estimates that extraordinary measures will be exhausted no later than October 17. We estimate that, at that point, Treasury would have only approximately $30 billion to meet our country’s commitments. This amount would be far short of net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60billion. If we have insufficient cash on hand, it would be impossible for the United States of America to meet all of its obligations for the first time in our history.

October 17th is the new “crisis deadline.” Republicans think this debt limit gives them leverage to make massive demands from President Obama but Obama has repeatedly said he simply refuses to negotiate on the issue.

Expect some grade A political posturing in the next three weeks.