Treasury: Debt limit to be reached by May 31st

government spending, money, debt, deficit, budget

The Department of the Treasury on Tuesday issued updated guidelines regarding when the United States will reach the legal limit on its borrowing. It now estimates that the U.S. will reach its debt limit between April 15 and May 31 of this year.

Treasury updates its debt limit projections at the beginning of each month. In January, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the government could hit the debt limit between March 31 and May 16.

The debt limit is currently $14.3 trillion, and the United States effectively defaults on its loans if it surpasses it - a potentially "catastrophic" situation, according to U.S. Council of Economic Advisers chair Austan Goolsbee.

Many Republicans are vowing not to vote to raise the limit unless they get concessions from Democrats in the form of spending cuts, however, setting up a springtime showdown over the issue.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday he is worried about the possibility that Congress will not vote to raise the limit.

"It's extremely important that you address this issue," he told a Senate committee, arguing that the debt limit vote should not tied to the fight over spending cuts.