Lawmakers told government will soon run out of money to pay bills


Congress has been warned that the government will run out of money to pay its bills in mid-October unless it raises the country's borrowing limit, which is capped at $16.7 trillion.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew passed this message in a letter to Speaker John Boehner. The letter said the government was running out of accounting maneuvers it has used to avoid hitting the borrowing limit. He pressed Congress to act so Treasury can keep paying the government's bills.

In the letter released Monday, Lew said it's impossible for Treasury to predict exactly when the borrowing limit will be reached. But he cautioned that if action isn't taken soon on Capitol Hill, the government could be left with $50 billion in cash by mid-October.

Lew says that wouldn't be enough to cover Social Security payments, military personnel salaries, Medicare and other programs for an "extended period."

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)