The U.S. Treasury officially suspended some investments of federal employee pension funds as part of the “extraordinary measures” the government will need to take to keep the country funded while Congress reconsiders the statutory debt limit.
In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent Friday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew “respectfully” urged Congress to raise the debt limit as soon as possible.
Lew issued a “debt issuance suspension period,” affecting the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the investment of Treasury securities held in Federal Employees’ Retirement System Thrift Savings Plan.
In February, Congress approved a temporary extension of the debt limit, which expires this week.
The Congressional Budget Office has said that if Congress doesn’t vote to raise the debt ceiling, Treasury will run out of cash by October or November.
The political game of chicken over raising the country’s spending limits is becoming common practice in Congress. The debt ceiling has been raised five times in President Obama’s time in the White House alone.
Nor is this the first time government workers have seen their pensions held hostage over funding battles.