Could hit debt ceiling by mid-February: Treasury

WASHINGTON Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:47pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States should run out of tools to avoid a default between mid-February and early March, which could lead to lasting damage to the U.S. economy and its creditworthiness, the Treasury said on Monday.

In a letter to Congress, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner urged lawmakers to raise the $16.4 trillion legal limit on the nation's debt, or risk 'irreparable' economic harm.

He said the Treasury would later provide a more narrow timeline for when it believes it will no longer be able to pay the government's bills.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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