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Sessions and Hatch Asks Treasury Department: What are the Plans for Debt Limit

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama joined his Senate colleague, Orrin Hatch  (R) from Utah in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.  The two conservative Senators are asking the Treasury Department to provide detailed information about when the nation will reach its debt limit again and what the Obama Administration plans to do when that happens.  Sen. Sessions is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Budget Committee. Sen. Hatch is the ranking Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Sens. Sessions and Hatch wrote, “According to the October 11, 2012 Daily Treasury Statement, total public debt subject to the statutory debt limit was $16,119,122 million, or $274,878 million below the limit of $16,394,000 million. In other words, just over a year later, we’ve already exhausted 87 percent of the $2.1 trillion increase in federal borrowing authority, averaging more than $4 billion in borrowing a day.”

The two Senators wrote that the last time the debt approached the debt limit, “Congress was left to guess about the Treasury’s cash position and forecasts of cash positions or rely on guesses made by outside organizations. This lack of transparency from Treasury is unacceptable, especially with regard to issues affecting the full faith and credit of the United States.  Our understanding is that neither the administration nor the Treasury had any formal contingency plan for dealing with the consequences of the U.S. government defaulting on its obligations. That is, there was no “plan B.””

Sens. Sessions and Hatch wrote, “We request that you provide us with periodic updates of the following information.  1. What is Treasury’s forecast of the date upon which Treasury will find it necessary to use extraordinary measures to manage to keep federal debt at or below the statutory debt limit?  2. What is Treasury’s forecast of the date upon which the U.S. government will reach the statutory debt limit given use and exhaustion of these extraordinary measures?  3. What are Treasury’s plans for asset sales as the government approaches the statutory debt limit?  4. What has changed, in terms of receipts and outlays, planned asset sales, and forecasts of receipts and outlays, since the last update?”

The administration is on pace to increase the national debt by a staggering $6.2 trillion during President Barack H. Obama’s first term.  Under President Obama the federal government has borrowed $4.24 billion a day.  The federal budget deficit is $1.133 trillion per year…..more than all of the federal personal income tax collected by the U.S. government.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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