Roundtable Weekly
Congressional Budget Office Issues Warning on Debt Limit
February 17, 2023

This week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the government would exhaust its ability to borrow using extraordinary measures between July and September if Congress fails to raise the $31.4 trillion debt limit. (CBO, Federal Debt and the Statutory Limit, Feb. 15). (Washington Post, Jan. 15)

Looming Standoff

  • When the U.S. reached the current debt limit in January, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified congressional leaders of the implementation of so-called “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default, such as suspending the reinvestment of federal employees’ retirement plans. (Roundtable Weekly, Jan.13) (Yellen letter, Jan. 13)
  • While the CBO noted these measures are expected to last until at least July, it also highlighted the difficulty in determining an exact date of default.  The projected exhaustion date is uncertain, CBO notes, because the timing and amount of revenue collections and outlays over the intervening months could differ from current projections. (The Hill, Feb. 15)
  • Thus far, discussions between the Republican-led House, Democratic Senate, and Administration have generated little, if any, progress towards a resolution. The new warning from the nonpartisan CBO reinforces the urgency for congressional leaders to reach an agreement to avoid a default. (Politico, Jan.15)

Roundtable Call-to-Action

U.S. Capitol

  • In January, Real Estate Roundtable Chair John Fish (Chairman and CEO, SUFFOLK) and President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer called on Roundtable members to proactively reach out to federal lawmakers to urge that they act expeditiously to raise the debt ceiling. “We now believe the risk of a default on the federal debt in 2023 is a real and meaningful concern that must not be taken lightly.” (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 20)
  • “Some threats to the U.S. economy are unavoidable, others are ones of our own making and entirely unnecessary. The potential for a default on the federal debt is a needless and inexcusable risk with potentially dire consequences for U.S. real estate, workers and retirees, and the entire economy,” said DeBoer. “The full faith and credit of the United States government should not be open to negotiation.”

Roundtable leaders continue to strongly encourage members to contact policymakers in Congress and the White House and appeal to them to raise the debt ceiling soon.

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