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How ‘Extraordinary Measures’ Can Postpone a Debt Limit Disaster


“Debt limit impasses have also repeatedly disrupted implementation of Treasury’s cash management policy — with knock-on effects for money markets,” Joshua Frost, assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets, explained in a speech in December.Mr. Frost added that the Treasury Department usually has a daily cash balance of $600 billion to $700 billion, but that during the 2021 debt limit standoff, there were days when it grew painfully close to zero. Such situations can force the Treasury Department to undertake risky moves such as issuing same-day cash management bills or conducting buybacks.“There were several instances when we didn’t have sufficient cash on hand to meet even our next-day obligations,” Mr. Frost, who spoke at t …

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