The Obama administration wants Congress to raise the debt limit in the next 16 days.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, saying the “best course of action would be for Congress to “raise the nation’s debt limit “before February 7 to ensure orderly financing of the government.” At the latest, Lew writes, Congress must lift the cap by the end of February.
“When I previously wrote to you in December, I estimated that Treasury would exhaust extraordinary measures in late February or early March,” Lew wrote to Boehner. “Based on our best and most recent information, we believe that Treasury is more likely to exhaust those measures in late February. While this forecast is subject to inherent variability, we do not foresee any reasonable scenario in which the extraordinary measures would last for an extended period of time.”
There’s not a ton of time. The House is out of session this week and in session for only two-and-a-half days next week. As of right now, there doesn’t appear to be a plan to lift the debt limit. Asked last week whether Congress would have to deal with the debt limit by late February, Boehner demurred.
As the Obama administration scrambles to rectify the rocky rollout of the online health care marketplace, the Health Department said Sunday that it has enlisted the “best and brightest” to help fix the website’s torrent of technical glitches and bugs as the president prepares to address the problems at the White House on Monday.
“Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a blog post published Sunday.
The blog post also says technology officials have been working “around the clock” to ensure that individuals can create accounts and apply for health care coverage without any digital roadblocks.
“We’re proud of these quick improvements, but we know there’s still more work to be done,” the post says. “We will continue to conduct regular maintenance nearly every night to improve the experience.”
“It is important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward,” said Obama.
The president also said that he had instructed Lew to implement the recommendations of the inspector general’s report which looked into why groups with words like “tea party” in their name had been forced to endure more scrutiny when applying for 501(c)(4) status. Obama added that he would “work with Congress as it performs its oversight role” in investigating the IRS.