The federal government will reach the limit of its borrowing authority of $4.9 trillion on Halloween, the Clinton Administration said Friday.
Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, attending a conference of business leaders in Williamsburg, Va., said the government "will hit the debt ceiling Oct. 31."
A Treasury official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Rubin had not pinpointed the date before, saying instead that borrowing authority would be exhausted at the end of October. Others have said the first real risk of a government default could occur Nov. 15, when the Treasury is due to make a $25-billion interest payment on the debt.
Republicans in Congress have vowed not to raise the debt ceiling until President Clinton agrees to their plans to trim federal spending and eliminate the budget deficit in seven years. Clinton has said he will not be "blackmailed" into agreeing to the GOP program.
Rubin has said it is irresponsible for Republicans to hold the debt ceiling hostage in the budget debate because even the risk of a government default on its debt could cause turmoil in financial markets.
The Administration has proposed raising the debt ceiling to $5.5 trillion, a level it said would accommodate spending commitments in either Clinton's proposed budget or the Republican alternative through most of 1997.