Study: US could default as early as Oct. 18

WASHINGTON — A new study predicts the United States could default on its obligations as early as Oct. 18 if Washington fails to agree on legislation to raise the government's borrowing cap.

The Bipartisan Policy Center analysis says the default date would come no later than Nov. 5 and that the government would quickly fall behind on its payments, including those for Social Security benefits and military pensions.

The think tank's estimate is in line with a warning last month by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew that the government would exhaust its borrowing authority by Mid-October and be left with just $50 billion cash on hand.

The government has never defaulted on its obligations. Raising the $16.7 trillion borrowing cap promises to be a major struggle for House Republicans and President Barack Obama.

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