WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said on Sunday that the Congress should end political brinkmanship and move forward with a debt ceiling increase as the deadline looms.
"Congress is playing with fire," Lew said on CNN's "State of the Union."
"If the United States government, for the first time in its history, chooses not to pay its bills on time, we will be in default. There is no option that prevents us from being in default if we don't have enough cash to pay our bills," he said.
With the Republicans and Democrats entrenched in their positions, the budget impasse drags on and the government shutdown continues. The Treasury Department has said it will exhaust its "extraordinary measures" to pay government bills under the 16.7 trillion dollars federal government borrowing limit no later than Oct. 17.
Lew said he has notified the congressmen that the last extraordinary measures have been employed.
"That means that on Oct. 17, we'll run out of the ability to borrow. We'll be left with some cash on hand. And, I've told Congress it will be roughly 30 billion dollars," he said.
If the Congress doesn't extend the debt limit, "we have a very, very short window of time" before the impact begin to play out, Lew said.
In a separate report released on Thursday, the Treasury warned that if the Congress fails to raise the debt limit in time, the consequences of a government default could be "catastrophic" and "credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, U.S. interest rates could skyrocket."
"The negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2009 or worse," said the report.
Lew also noted that the government shutdown was due to the tactics of "some very extreme parts of Congress," urging the lawmakers to vote and reopen the federal government.