Federal debt limit returns at $18.1 trillion with Treasury making moves to stay under cap

MarketsAssociated Press

After a year with no cap on government borrowing, the federal debt limit has come back into force.

The new limit — $18.133 trillion to be exact — was announced by the Treasury Department, which says the government's total borrowing stands $25 million below the new limit.

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Even before the debt limit went back into effect, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew began taking a series of moves, such as removing investments from government pension funds, to keep the government operating without breaching the new limit.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the various bookkeeping maneuvers should keep the government's borrowing underneath the new limit until October or November. Lew has urged Congress to avoid brinksmanship in raising the debt limit.