The Treasury, which has been juggling federal finances since the nation hit the debt limit of $16.4 trillion last month, has informed the president and Congress that it will run out of short-term fixes within weeks.
Some Republicans, frustrated with the “fiscal cliff” deal that Mr. McConnell negotiated with Vice President Joseph R. Biden this month, are starting to embrace the idea of shutting down the government to force Mr. Obama’s hand when it comes to cutting spending.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington Republican who helms the GOP conference, told Politico that she thinks House Republicans could very well shut down the government to extract spending cuts from Democrats. The shutdown would be imposed if Congress doesn’t pass another spending bill to fund the government’s general operations by March 27.
“We always talk about whether or not we’re going to kick the can down the road,” she said. “I think the mood is that we’ve come to the end of the road.”
The White House, citing the impact of the last stalemate over the borrowing limit, has said repeatedly that there will be no negotiations with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling. After months of brinkmanship over the debt limit, the credit ratings firm Standard & Poor’s in 2011 downgraded U.S. debt for the first time in 70 years.
The government hit the debt ceiling Dec. 31, but the Treasury started taking emergency measures to allow it to continue to issue debt and prevent any type of default for just a short window of time.
The Bipartisan Policy Center says the Treasury will run out of options on meeting the government’s bills between Feb. 15 and March 1.
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Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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