Washington: Hit by a shutdown, the US Department of Treasury has urged the Congress to immediately increase debt ceiling failing which, it said could result in recession comparable to or worse than the 2008 financial crisis.
"Postponing a debt ceiling increase to the very last minute is exactly what our economy does not need? a self-inflicted wound harming families and businesses.
"Our nation has worked hard to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, and Congress must act now to lift the debt ceiling before that recovery is put in jeopardy," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said.
"As we saw two years ago, prolonged uncertainty over whether our nation will pay its bills in full and on time hurts our economy," Lew said.
The Congress needs to increase the federal debt ceiling by October 17 to avoid having the US default on its obligations.
"This is not a debate about reducing future spending or cutting the deficit. This is about making sure the United States can meet its existing obligations to our citizens, businesses and investors - and the stakes could not be higher," Jack Lew said in an op-ed in The USA Today.
If the United States cannot pay its bills in full and on time, each and every American will be affected, including seniors who rely on Social Security, veterans who depend on disability payments, children in need of food assistance, and doctors and hospitals who treat Medicare patients, among others, he said.
"The stock market, including investments in retirement accounts, could tumble, and it could become more expensive for Americans to buy a car, own a home and open a small business," Lew wrote adding that without a debt limit increase, government will - in a matter of days - not have the resources it needs to make good on its commitments.