The federal government will hit the debt ceiling on Monday, Timothy Geithner informed Congress today—so he's readying "emergency measures" to keep Washington from borrowing beyond its limit. Those measures will create roughly $200 billion in breathing room for the feds to operate, which would typically cover two months' worth of borrowing. But the Treasury secretary warned that it's unclear how much time his extraordinary measures will buy if the US goes over the fiscal cliff, CNNMoney reports.
"If left unresolved, the expiring tax provisions and automatic spending cuts, as well as the attendant delays in filing of tax returns, would have the effect of adding some additional time to the duration of the extraordinary measures," he wrote in a letter. In that case the government could default on at least some financial obligations. Congress, however, has made little effort to raise the debt ceiling, and Republicans have used it as a means of leverage in the fiscal cliff negotiations. Geithner's "extraordinary measures" will include no longer reinvesting federal workers' retirement account contributions in government bonds. (Read more debt ceiling stories.)