The Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday that the deadline for raising the federal debt ceiling will fall in the first half of March, moving up the estimated date because of the revenue lost from the Republican-passed tax cuts.
Previously, the budget office had projected that the debt ceiling would become binding in late March or early April.
But because the new withholding tables for the lower tax rates are being phased in, the Treasury can expect "roughly $10 billion to $15 billion per month less," the CBO said. The agency provides budgetary and economic analysis to Congress.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress late Tuesday that he could move around accounts long enough to pay bills through February and called on lawmakers to quickly raise the debt limit.
The Treasury has been at the debt ceiling of $20.5 trillion since December. Mnuchin has the ability to draw from government accounts to keep paying incoming bills and can draw on cash on hand and incoming revenue.
Once those resources are exhausted, however, the Treasury faces the prospect of failing to make a payment in full and on time. A default on the federal debt would entail terrible consequences for the economy.