Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has given Congress until mid-October to raise the debt ceiling. That's when he predicts the Treasury will run out of "extraordinary measures" to avoid going over the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. In a letter to lawmakers today, Lew urged them to act "as soon as possible," reports the Hill. If not, he predicts the government will be left with only $50 billion in cash—which he warns wouldn't necessarily be enough to cover Social Security payments, military salaries, or Medicare reimbursements, the AP reports.
If Congress acts, it will have to do so quickly, notes the Hill—there are only nine legislative days scheduled for September, and the government is still facing a shutdown in October if it can't get spending approved. But the White House reiterated that it isn't willing to negotiate on the debt ceiling. "Let me reiterate what our position is, and it is unequivocal—we will not negotiate with Republicans in Congress over bills Congress has racked up," says Press Secretary Jay Carney. "We have never defaulted and we must never default." (Read more debt ceiling stories.)