Yellen maintains early June as U.S. debt ceiling deadline

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday maintained early June as a debt ceiling default deadline and said she will update Congress shortly about government finances.

It was hard to be precise about exactly which day the U.S. government will run out of resources, but Yellen said she will try to increase the level of precision on a date.

The U.S. Treasury Department reiterated Monday it expects to be able to pay the U.S. government’s bills only through June 1 without a debt limit increase, leaving just over a week for White House negotiators and congressional Republicans to reach a deal.

Speaking at a Wall Street Journal forum, Yellen said Treasury and President Joe Biden will face tough choices if Congress doesn’t act to raise the debt ceiling.

“There will be some obligations we will be unable to pay,” she said.

The Treasury secretary said payment prioritization is not operationally feasible for the government. “We simply have to raise the debt ceiling,” she said.

There is some stress in financial markets over the debt ceiling, with some Treasury bills coming due in early to mid-June trading at higher interests rates, Yellen added.

(Reporting by David Lawder and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)