World finance officials focus on global risks

WASHINGTON – World finance officials pledged on Saturday to deal with new risks to the global recovery while they kept up pressure on the United States to address the biggest threat of all – a market-rattling default on U.S. debt.

The International Monetary Fund’s policy committee said the United States needed to take “urgent action” to address the budget impasse that has blocked approval of legislation to increase the government’s borrowing limit before a fast-approaching Thursday deadline. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who shuttled between the global finance talks and negotiations with Congress over the debt ceiling, has warned that he will exhaust his borrowing authority Thursday and the government will face the prospect of defaulting on its debt unless Congress raises the current borrowing limit.

Across town from the global finance meetings Saturday, an effort at the Capitol to pass a one-year extension of the borrowing limit failed to get sufficient votes. But in a more hopeful sign, negotiations to end a partial government shutdown, now in its 12th day, and raise the debt ceiling began between Democratic and Republican Senate leaders.