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updated: 2/3/2014 10:30 AM

Lew urges quick action to raise debt ceiling

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  • Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, listens to testimony during a Senate Finance Committee hearing last fall. Congress suspended the debt limit in October as part of a deal to reopen the government after a partial shutdown. But the suspension ends on Friday.

      Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, listens to testimony during a Senate Finance Committee hearing last fall. Congress suspended the debt limit in October as part of a deal to reopen the government after a partial shutdown. But the suspension ends on Friday.
    Bloomberg News file photo

 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says he will start using emergency measures after Feb. 7 to avoid a first-ever default on the national debt. He says he expects to exhaust those measures quickly.

Lew said in a speech Monday that he expected to run out of maneuvering room by the end of this month. Congress suspended the debt limit last October as part of a deal to reopen the government after a partial shutdown. But the suspension ends on Friday.

After that time, Lew can employ various measures to keep the government operating without breaching the debt limit.

But he said because of the time of the year, those measures will probably only last until Feb. 28. He said Congress should act without delay to increase the debt ceiling.

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