WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed Congress on Monday that he will stop making payments into two government retirement funds now that the debt limit has gone back into effect.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Mnuchin said that he would stop making investments into a civil service retirement fund and a postal service retirement fund.
These are among the actions that Mnuchin is allowed to take to keep from exceeding the debt limit, which went back into effect on Saturday at a level of $22 trillion.
The debt limit had been suspended for a year under a 2018 budget deal. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Mnuchin likely has enough maneuvering room to avoid a catastrophic default on the national debt until around September.
The U.S. government has never missed a debt payment although budget battle between then-President Barack Obama and Republicans in 2011 pushed approval of an increase in the debt limit so close to a default that the Standard and Poor’s rating agency downgraded a portion of the country’s credit rating for the first time in history.