US Treasury asks federal agencies for payments clarity as debt ceiling default looms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury said on Tuesday it is asking other federal agencies for greater clarity and communication on the payments they expect to make and receive in the coming days to more accurately forecast when the government will run short of cash without an increase in the federal debt ceiling.

A Treasury spokesperson said the department is not asking agencies to delay any payments past their due dates, but for increased communication about upcoming payments and receipts.

“To produce an accurate forecast around the debt limit, it’s critical that Treasury have updated information on the magnitude and timing of agency payments,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “As in prior debt limit episodes, Treasury will continue to regularly communicate with all aspects of the federal government on their planned expenditures.”

The outreach comes as the Treasury is searching for ways to conserve the government’s dwindling cash resources as a June 1 deadline for possible default looms and tense negotiations drag on between the White House and Republicans in Congress over raising the $31.4 trillion borrowing cap.

The Washington Post earlier reported that Treasury has asked agencies whether some forthcoming payments could be made on later dates, quoting two people familiar with the matter.

It also quoted a memo that it said Treasury sent to federal agencies asking for agencies to notify Treasury at least two days in advance about all deposits and disbursements of $50 million to $500 million and five days in advance on all payments above $500 million.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Marguerita Choy)