The U.S. economy is set to finally to overcome its post-recession weakness in 2014 — if Washington can manage to stay out of the way.

That's the assessment of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who said Monday morning that 2014 "can and should be a breakthrough year for our economy."

But "it's incumbent on Washington to be part of the solution and to avoid the brinksmanship of recent years that has done so much to diminish economic momentum," Lew warned. He specifically called on Congress to avoid a repeat of the showdowns last fall and 2011 and raise the debt ceiling immediately.

In the deal to end the government shutdown in October, the statutory debt limit was suspended through Feb. 7. Lew said that the Treasury will have the means to keep paying the government's bills through late February if the limit isn't raised, but called on Congress to act "right away" and cautioned that "it would be a mistake to wait until the 11th hour to get this done."