WASHINGTON, July 31 (Reuters) - The Trump administration plans to ramp up borrowing with short-term debt issuance once Washington raises a borrowing limit in order to get the nation’s cash buffer back to a safe level, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.
The government has had to run down its cash holdings in recent months because Congress and President Donald Trump have failed to pass a law lifting the limit on deficit spending. Failure to lift the borrowing limit by October could lead the government to start missing payment obligations, analysts say.
A Trump-backed bill to raise the limit passed the House of Representatives last week and lawmakers in the Senate are currently debating the proposed legislation.
“Once legislation suspending the debt limit is enacted into law, Treasury will begin the process of raising its cash balance back to levels consistent with its prudent cash balance policy, primarily through sizable increases in Treasury bill issuance,” said Brian Smith, the Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary for federal finance.
The Treasury strives to keep enough cash on hand to cover one week of outflows from its general coffers, with a minimum balance of $150 billion.
“The debt limit impasse has precluded Treasury from being able to maintain prudent cash balance levels,” Smith said.
He said the Treasury had consulted with representatives of Wall Street and that the plan for bill issuance was consistent with their expectations and assessments of market capacity.
The Treasury said it would keep auction levels steady for longer-term nominal securities. However, it does plan to increase issuance of inflation-indexed securities. (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)