The United States government is running out of money to pay its bills faster than previously thought, the Treasury Department warned on Wednesday.
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the government would fail to meet its financial obligations and will be left with just $30 billion cash on hand “no later” than Oct. 17.
“We estimate that, at that point, Treasury would have only approximately $30 billion to meet our country’s commitments,” Lew said in a letter Wednesday to US House Speaker John Boehner.
Last month, Lew told Congress he expected the Treasury Department would have about $50 billion left to fund the government in mid-October.
A study by the Congressional Budget Office earlier this month predicted the US government would default by the end of October if lawmakers fail to increase the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit.
That small amount of money could make it difficult, or even impossible for the government to pay the roughly $55 billion in Social Security, Medicare and military payments due Nov. 1.
Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on how to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. The federal government will shut down if no agreement is reached.
The White House has said Congress should raise the debt ceiling without conditions and has refused to negotiate with lawmakers about how to do it.
The US government has about $16.7 trillion in debt which continues to rise because the government spends more money than it brings in through revenue.
The government spends more than $3.5 trillion a year and funds the deficit by issuing debt.
In 2011, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the US credit rating for the first time after President Obama and Congress failed to resolve the long-term debt crisis.