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U.S. hits borrowing limit, moves to avoid default

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    FILE - In this Thursday, July 26, 2012, file photo,Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Banking Committee hearing: "The Financial Stability Oversight Council Annual Report to Congress." The U.S. Treasury Department announced Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, it will begin taking steps this week to delay hitting the government's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit. Without those steps, the debt limit would be hit on Dec. 31. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says in a letter to congressional leaders that the department will take several accounting measures to save approximately $200 billion beginning next year. The government borrows about $100 billion a month, so that would (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)
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WASHINGTON >> The U.S. government is running up against its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit and is taking steps to avoid default.

Reaching the limit Monday sets up another dispute between the White House and Congress over taxes and spending in the new year.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the government will take a series of accounting measures to avoid defaulting on its debt. On Monday, it suspended the issuance of new debt for two government retirement funds. That step won’t impact current retirees.

Last week, Geithner said the measures would save about $200 billion. That would typically avoid default for about two months. But Geithner said it is difficult to predict how long default can be avoided this time because of ongoing budget talks.

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