WASHINGTON — The United States has a few more days than expected before running out of money, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. said in a letter Friday afternoon

The new deadline to act or risk missing the debt ceiling is June 5, Yellen said, setting a hard deadline for the first time. He had previously been less specific, saying the breach could happen «potentially as early as June 1.»

The Treasury Department reached the legal borrowing limit in January and has been using «extraordinary measures» to pay the nation’s bills ever since.

“Based on the most recent data available, we now estimate that the Treasury will have insufficient resources to meet government obligations if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit by June 5,” Yellen wrote to congressional leaders. .

The letter comes as Republican negotiators in the White House and the House have yet to reach an agreement. It gives the negotiating teams a modest reprieve as they remain deadlocked on several issues in the discussions, including job requirements and how to manage federal spending in the coming years.

The two parties have been working out their differences on spending levels. But a major problem is the Republican demand to impose stricter work requirements for Americans to receive federal benefits like SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, said two sources familiar with the talks.

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., who is leading negotiations for House Republicans, said it is «totally appropriate» that a larger group of able-bodied Americans without dependents be subject to work requirements for federal aid.

«The White House has been very tough on this issue,» Graves told reporters. «And I’ll tell you, he’s critical.»

Democrats say work requirements already exist for federal programs and argue that tougher policies would create more red tape, weed out eligible Americans who don’t fill out paperwork correctly and that the work requirements have little impact on unemployment.

Graves said he spoke with White House negotiator Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, on Friday and that the two sides are continuing to have «a very candid conversation about how we’re going to move forward, if we’re going to be able to come together and, Ultimately, reach an agreement.

The two camps are also discussing withdrawing unspent Covid relief funds and reviewing permits for infrastructure and energy projects as part of a deal.

The White House is pushing for a two-year debt limit extension on any deal, three sources with knowledge of the talks said, but Republican leaders have not said publicly whether they will agree to that.

«Progress is being made,» a source familiar with the talks said on Friday. «I don’t think it’s likely today, but we’re close.» Yellen pleaded with Congress to act quickly.

«We have learned from past debt limit impasses that waiting until the last minute to suspend or increase the debt limit can cause serious damage to business and consumer confidence, increase borrowing costs in the short term for taxpayers and adversely affect the credit rating of the United States». United,” she wrote.

«In fact, we’ve already seen Treasury borrowing costs rise substantially for securities maturing in early June. If Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit, it would cause serious hardship for American families, hurt our leadership position worldwide and would raise doubts about our ability. to defend our national security interests.

Liz Brown-Kaiser and Alexandra Cod contributed.