U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve officials worried about the growing possibility of a catastrophic default are crafting contingency plans to mitigate the economic fallout if Congress fails to extend America’s borrowing authority, a source familiar with the plans said.
With just eight days before the Treasury Department says the U.S. will hit its $16.7 trillion (10.46 trillion pounds) borrowing limit, lawmakers and the White House remain far from a deal to extend it. Officials are examining what options might be available to calm financial markets if a U.S. debt payment is missed.
The specifics of their planning remain unclear, but the source said an area of special focus is a key bank funding market known as the tri-party repurchase agreement, or repo, market, where banks often use Treasury bills, notes and bonds as collateral for short-term loans from other banks and big money market funds. Continue reading