The federal government may be unable to meet all of its spending obligations as soon as mid-February, with potentially disastrous consequences for markets and the economy, unless the debt ceiling is raised, the Bipartisan Policy Center concludes in an analysis released Monday.

The analysis comes after Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned Congress the day after Christmas that the U.S. would reach its current $16.394 trillion debt limit on Dec. 31, but said Treasury would begin to take a series of extraordinary measures to postpone hitting the ceiling for about two months. Those measures included halting sales of State and Local Government Series securities (SLGS), which muni issuers purchase for advance refunding escrows to avoid breaching yield restriction requirements.

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