May 18, 2011 / 8:04 PM / 9 years ago

U.S. does not expect August 2 debt deadline to change

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration does not expect the August 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling to shift and is not forming a “Plan B” if Congress fails to approve that hike, senior officials said on Wednesday.

“There really is no alternative to raising the debt limit,” a senior official told reporters at the White House.

The official said the Treasury Department had moved its original deadline to August 2 from July 8 after better than expected tax revenues in April.

“At this point, we think it’s unlikely that the August 2 date, even though it is a forecast, will change,” he said.

“There aren’t any big tax revenue days between now and then,” he added. “It is possible there could be a little bit of variation in it, but ... right now we don’t expect it.”

Another official dismissed suggestions that the government could sell assets such as gold to pay its bills.

“The idea of dumping gold on the market in a hurried sale would be extremely disadvantageous, not only to the taxpayers, but also to the markets,” that official said.

“We’ve been very clear that we don’t think any fire sales are a good idea from an asset management standpoint. And it wouldn’t change the fact that when you got through selling the assets, you still need to raise the debt limit.”

The officials expressed confidence that the debt limit would be lifted.

“It has always been raised. There is almost always some drama beforehand,” one official said.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Eric Walsh

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