The federal government will hit its borrowing limit on Saturday, but the Treasury Department is prepared to take its usual precautions to buy time for lawmakers to work out a deal to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.
Congress last suspended the debt ceiling in February 2018, in a bipartisan budget deal that temporarily removed the borrowing restriction through March 1, 2019. The government will not face an immediate crisis, however, as Treasury will implement its standard “extraordinary measures” to give itself as much leeway as possible to continue borrowing and pay its bills.
Those measures typically include a suspension of daily reinvestments into the Thrift Savings Plan’s government securities (G) Fund, as well as investments into the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. All of those funds would ultimately be made whole once the debt ceiling is again raised or suspended. For now, however, Treasury will only suspend the sale of State and Local Government Series securities to buy time, department Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a letter to congressional leadership last week. He added “it is likely Treasury will utilize additional extraordinary measures as well.”