Unless Congress takes action, the U.S. will hit its debt limit on Mar. 16, but will begin taking "extraordinary measures" on Mar. 13 to finance the government on a temporary basis, according to the U.S. Treasury.
In a Friday morning letter to House Speaker John Boehner and other House and Senate leaders, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said that his office will be forced to suspend the issuance of State and Local Government Series securities on Mar. 13 unless the debt limit is decreased.
"Accordingly, I respectfully ask Congress to raise the debt limit as soon as possible," Lew wrote in his letter.
The Treasury secretary emphasized that "increasing the debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments," but rather "simply allows the government to pay for expenditures Congress has already approved."
Congress passed the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act in February 2014, which suspended the statutory debt limit through Mar. 15 of this year.