"On May 16, 2011, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced that the federal debt had reached its statutory limit and declared a debt issuance suspension period, which would allow certain extraordinary measures to extend Treasury's borrowing capacity until early August 2011. While many of the extraordinary measures have been used by previous Treasury Secretaries, the funding provided by those measures may buy much less time than in previous debt limit episodes. Given the size of the FY2011 federal deficit, projected to reach $1,399 billion according to the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline estimates, those extraordinary measures may provided limited additional time before the federal government becomes unable to meet its financial obligations. Thus, funding federal operations could soon become complicated without a debt limit increase."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31967