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Lew warns Congress he will run out of manoeuvring room on US debt ceiling by late February

WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has told Congress that by late February he will run out of steps he can take to avoid a first-ever default on U.S. debt. In a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, Lew said he thinks he will exhaust the bookkeeping manoeuvrs he can make to avoid breaching the federal borrowing limit sooner than previously thought. He had estimated in December that he could avoid a default until late February or early March.

Lew urges Congress to raise debt ceiling soon

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urged Congress Thursday to quickly raise the country's borrowing ceiling to avert yet another political showdown over debt that could unnerve capital markets. "We have, you know, a deadline looming in February. February 7th our borrowing authority runs out again. At that point, Congress has to act," he said. Under current law the Treasury can borrow what it needs to cover the US budget deficit until February 7, when a fresh cap is set at the level of that day.

US Treasury Secretary Lew pushes European countries to support demand even as economy improves

PARIS - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is reminding European countries that they need to help consumers and companies spend, even though the economy has begun to improve. Lew didn't mention Germany in his remarks, but his message seemed particularly aimed at Europe's largest economy, which has been criticized for being reluctant to support demand. If German consumers and companies are encouraged to buy, some argue, it will help buoy the entire European economy.

Lew says government will have only a few weeks after Feb. 7 to avoid defaulting on US debt

WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is telling Congress that he will have only a few weeks after Feb. 7 to avoid an unprecedented default on the nation's debt. He says Congress should act quickly next year to raise the borrowing limit. As part of the agreement that ended the 16-day partial government shutdown in October, Congress suspended the debt limit until Feb. 7. Some Republicans have said they want to use the approaching deadline to force the administration to make new budget concessions. Lew said the president will not negotiate over raising the debt limit.

US can pay bills until early March

The United States will run out of money to pay its bills by early March if Congress does not raise the nation's borrowing limit, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Thursday. In a letter to Congress, Lew urged lawmakers to take "prompt action" to once again extend the debt limit, after the legislature extended it in October through February 7, amid fears the world's largest economy could default on its debt. When the extension expires on February 7, the United States will hit the debt limit again, he said.

Lew calls to replace sequester with 'commonsense' cuts

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew called Thursday for Congress to replace the programmed "sequester" spending cuts with more sensible reductions that will not retard economic growth. Laying out the Obama administration's views on negotiations just starting, Lew warned that the sequestration, which could increase the cuts forced in fiscal 2013 by nearly $30 billion in the current 2014 fiscal year, will act as a drag on economic growth.

Lew warns US reputation at risk in budget fight

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Friday that the reputation of the United States as a global "safe harbor" was at risk as the government remained partially shut for the 11th day. In a statement to the steering committee of the International Monetary Fund, Lew acknowledged the global nervousness regarding the political stalemate in Washington over passing a new federal budget and raising the country's borrowing limit. "We recognize that the United States is the anchor of the international financial system," he told the IMF's International Monetary and Financial Committee.

Lew says prioritization of bills risky, urges quick raising of US debt limit before deadline

WASHINGTON - Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Thursday urged Congress to raise the government's borrowing limit before Oct. 17, warning that a Republican idea to prioritize payments with cash on hand could cause "irrevocable damage" to the U.S. economy.

Lew says delays on overhaul rules may mean continued risk from big banks, require new options

WASHINGTON - U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says any efforts to delay the writing of rules to put the 2010 financial overhaul law into effect could leave big banks in a position to threaten the financial system's stability. Lew said that means policymakers may have to consider new approaches. His comments came Wednesday at a conference organized by the cable TV network CNBC.

Lew's signature on US greenback less loopy

It's not bubbly-cute any more, but Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew's new official signature, to go on all new US banknotes, should meet boss President Barack Obama's admonition not to debase the currency. Revealed by the Treasury Tuesday, Lew's signature for the greenback still had some of the characteristic swirls that drew howls when he was first nominated in January. But -- thankfully to many -- it was a far cry from the eight-loops-and-a-tail that he scribed on White House memos in his previous job as Obama's chief of staff.
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