Treasury exchange traded funds (ETFs) were lower Wednesday afternoon as investors worried about a potential government shutdown with lawmakers in Washington facing off before a Friday deadline.

As the country’s deficit grows to staggering proportions, the legal limit on the amount the U.S. government may borrow is quickly approaching, and the Treasury Secretary warns of possible debt defaults if no action is taken. While the possibility of the U.S. defaulting on debt seems rather ludicrous, U.S. Treasury bonds and other related ETFs may begin to sweat under the mounting pressure.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner recently stated that the U.S. will hit a legal limit on its ability to borrow no later than May 16, commenting that “the longer Congress fails to act, the more we risk that investors here and around the world will lose confidence in our ability to meet our commitments and our obligations,” writes Rachelle Younglai for Reuters. As of last Friday, Treasury borrowing was just $95 billion shy of the Treasury’s projected $14.3 trillion statutory debt limit between April 15 and May 31. [Why Current Environment Is Affecting Treasury Yields and ETFs.]

Geithner has warned that failure to raise the debt ceiling in a timely fashion could force interest rates higher, causing a “financial crisis potentially more severe than the crisis from which we are only starting to recover.”

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