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U.S. Treasury: Brief shutdown would not buy much time on debt ceiling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The partial shutdown of the U.S. government would probably not buy the government much more time to raise its limit on borrowing in order to avert a default on the nation's obligations, a Treasury spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The Treasury expects the government will no longer be able to add to the national debt legally by October 17 unless Congress authorizes more borrowing to pay the nation's bills.

"It is unlikely that a brief government shutdown would materially alter Treasury's forecasts," a Treasury spokesperson said.

However, a prolonged shutdown might be able to buy the government some time before its borrowing capacity runs out.

"If the shutdown lasts all month, then it might push back a few days," said Brian Collins, an analyst and budget expert at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington.

The Treasury estimated last month it would have about $30 billion in cash left to pay the nation's bills when it runs out of borrowing capacity. It would then rely on those funds and incoming revenue to pay the country's obligations.

The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates the nation would begin defaulting on some obligations between October 18 and November 5.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Sandra Maler and Dan Grebler)

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