The U.S. Treasury Department will begin taking steps this week to delay hitting the government's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit. Without those steps, the debt limit would be hit on Dec. 31.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says in a letter to congressional leaders that the department will take several accounting measures to save approximately $200 billion beginning next year. The government borrows about $100 billion a month, so that would keep the government from reaching the limit for two months.
Geithner says it is harder to predict how long the delay will last because ongoing negotiations over tax and budget policies make it hard to forecast what tax revenue and government spending will be next year.
The debt limit is the amount the government can borrow to help finance its operations.