Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post 
Jan 8, 2013
The U.S. government may default on its debt as soon as Feb. 15, half a month earlier than widely expected, according to a new analysis  adding urgency to the debate over how to raise the federal debt ceiling.
The analysis, by the Bipartisan Policy Center, says that the government will be unable to pay all its bills starting sometime between Feb. 15 and March 1.
The government hit the $16.4 trillion statutory debt limit on Dec. 31 , but the Treasury Department is able to undertake a number of accounting schemes to delay when the government runs into funding problems.
The Treasury has said that the accounting schemes, known as “extraordinary measures,” ordinarily would forestall default for about the first two months of the year, though officials were clear that they could not pinpoint a precise date because of an unusual amount of uncertainty around federal finances.