The U.S. Treasury Secretary says the United States may default if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling before the end of the month.
Speaking in Washington Monday, Jack Lew said the Treasury would have to rely on emergency measures to pay the country's debts after the 16.7-trillion-U.S. dollar limit is reinstated on Friday.
But he went on to say the new reserves will be sucked dry quickly as the treasury department issues annual income tax refunds.
Washington's borrowing limit was halted in October as part of a congressional deal to end the government shutdown.
Also on Monday, Janet Yellen was sworn in as the first chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
She will deliver her first testimony to House and Senate committees next week.