Yellen Says U.S. Treasury’s Cash Won’t Last Long Past Dec. 3

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she’ll be updating Congress “within the next day or two” on how long lawmakers have to raise or suspend the debt limit before the government runs out of cash.

“We may be able to get past Dec. 3, we may have the resources to do that, but not a great deal of time after that,” Yellen said in an interview with National Public Radio that was taped on Monday.

The Treasury has since last month been using so-called extraordinary measures to help avoid running out of cash. The department said earlier this month that it had used up $182 billion of around $369 billion in cash made available through such measures.

Lawmakers enacted a short-term boost to the debt limit last month, aiming to give enough space to coincide with a separate deadline, of Dec. 3, for regular annual funding of federal government agencies. At that time, Yellen said the legislation would allow the government to keep paying its bills through Dec. 3. The dates are subject to change based on the Treasury Department’s flows of spending and revenue.

“I’ll shortly be issuing new guidance about what we’ve learned since that time about how long they can go,” Yellen said.

Treasuries Reaction

Yields on Treasury bills maturing at the end of the year rose after Yellen’s comments, with investors demanding slightly higher interest rates around Dec. 28 and Dec. 30.

Congressional leaders have yet to specify a plan for how they will address the ceiling in coming weeks.