The Treasury Department has told Congress it must raise the $16.7 trillion national debt limit by mid-October.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in a letter sent Monday to lawmakers said his department would exhaust the "extraordinary measures" it holds to keep the U.S. from breaching the limit at that time.
That sets up a deadline for Congress to raise the borrowing limit in mid-October, weeks after Congress faces the Sept. 30 deadline for keeping the government from shutting down. Once members return to Washington in September, they will have only nine legislative days to act to fund the government.
Lew said the government would have about $50 billion cash on hand in mid-October, putting the nation in an "unacceptable position."
He wrote that he could not predict how long that cash would last or whether the government would bring in enough money on a given day to cover bills come due.