US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has warned that the US will hit its debt ceiling by October 17 leaving the government with not enough cash to pay the bills.
The government and Republicans are at loggerheads over extending the credit limit required to avoid default.
Formally, raising the US debt ceiling posed no problems having been upped 78 times since 1960.
Times have changed, over the past three years the Republicans have used the deadline as a lever in order to extract budget concessions from the administration.
This year President Obama and the Democrats have refused to enter into talks with Republicans over their demand for budget cuts in exchange for agreeing a rise in the debt ceiling.
The impasse looks like going to the wire with Republicans saying the decision of the president not to talk is not an option.
Washington saw a similar standoff in 2011 when Republicans and Democrats only reached a compromise on the day the governments chance to borrow money expired.
A brinkmanship scenario is brewing for 2013.