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U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a CNN television interview. Photo: Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

The U.S. will now hit the debt limit on Dec. 15, revising an initial deadline of Dec. 3, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday.

Why it matters: An October vote to raise the federal debt ceiling allowed Congress to narrowly avoid a government default at least until Dec. 3. The Treasury's new estimate will give lawmakers slightly more time to work out a deal to raise the debt ceiling

What she's saying: "While I have a high degree of confidence that Treasury will be able to finance the U.S. government through December 15 ... there are scenarios in which Treasury would be left with insufficient remaining resources to continue to finance the operations of the U.S. government beyond this date," Yellen wrote.

  • "As the federal government’s cash flow is subject to unavoidable variability, I will continue to update Congress as more information becomes available."
  • "To ensure the full faith and credit of the United States, it is critical that Congress raise or suspend the debt limit as soon as possible," she added.

The big picture: Congress will soon face a series of deadlines, including funding the government, annual defense spending and Democrats' roughly $2 trillion social spending package, Axios' Alayna Treene notes.

Go deeper

Signs of stress in the Treasury market

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A who’s who of financial regulatory agencies are convening Wednesday to talk about how to ensure the $22 trillion Treasury market functions properly.

At issue: Fixing liquidity problems that have, at times, exacerbated price swings.

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

Updated 16 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.