Lew to Congress: Debt limit now exhausted Tuesday, November 3

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Thursday the U.S. debt limit will be exhausted Nov. 3, two days before previously estimated.

"At that point, we expect Treasury would be left with less than $30 billion to meet all of the nation's commitments — an amount far short of net expenditures on certain days, which can be as high as $60 billion," Lew said in a letter.

"Operating the United States government with no borrowing authority, and with only the cash on hand on a given day, would be profoundly irresponsible. As I wrote previously, we anticipate that a remaining cash balance of less than $30 billion would be depleted quickly," he said.

Lew also said the U.S. government would not be able to meet most of its obligations without a higher debt ceiling and thus urged Congress to raise it.

"We have learned from the past that failing to act until the last minute can cause serious harm to business and consumer confidence, raise short-term borrowing costs for taxpayers, and negatively impact the credit rating of the United States," he said.

Last Friday, Lew made similar remarks at an International Monetary Fund meeting in Peru, saying: "Congress needs to act or we could be faced with a crisis."