At his last press conference on the year on Friday, President Obama reiterated that he won’t negotiate with Congressional Republicans on lifting the nation’s debt ceiling. “It is not something that is a negotiating tool,” Obama said. “It’s not leverage. It’s a responsibility of Congress.”
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Thursday that the government will exhaust its borrowing authority in late February or early March. In October, Congress lifted the debt ceiling until February 7th, 2014, the first time it was raised for a time-period, rather than a specific dollar amount. The Treasury can employ “extraordinary measures” that will allow the government is pay its bills without issuing new debt.
Earlier this week, however, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) floated the possibility of winning approval for the Keystone Pipeline in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. “We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit,” Ryan said. “We’re going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt limit fight.”
The bipartisan comity surrounding the budget agreement between Ryan and Sen. Parry Murray (D-WA) isn’t likely to last long.