OTTAWA — U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that he has “plans and backup plans for funding the government” into at least September if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling before its August recess, potentially giving lawmakers some breathing room before they take a politically fraught vote.

Mnuchin’s comments during a news conference with Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, came at the end of a day of meetings in the Canadian capital. Mnuchin spoke to a number of top Canadian officials about taxes, trade, cybersecurity and how to prevent terror financing.

Asked at the news conference what sort of powers or backup plans he has if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, Mnuchin said with a smile, “treasury secretary super powers.” He didn’t respond to questions about whether this included plans to sell off U.S. assets, such as the gold reserve.

“We will be fine, okay, if they don’t do it beforehand,” Mnuchin said, “but I would emphasize that I think the sooner they do it, the less uncertainty there is in the market.

Mnuchin also for the first time gave an explanation for why Americans are paying between 2 percent and 3 percent less in tax revenue than previously forecast. “Receipts are coming in somewhat lower, and I think that’s an expectation that we are going to do tax reform,” he said. Estimates from analysts and budget experts have said Americans could be shifting their tax liability to delay paying taxes, hopeful that future lower tax rates could reduce the amount they have to pay.

The reduction in tax receipts, however, is creating a cash crunch for the U.S. government and more urgency for the Treasury Department as it comes up with plans to deal with the debt ceiling.

The U.S. government spends more money than it brings in through revenue, and it covers that balance – known as the deficit – by borrowing money through new debt. But it can only issue debt up to a limit, or ceiling, set by Congress. The debt limit was suspended until mid-March, but since that time Mnuchin has taken emergency steps to prolong falling behind on the nation’s bills by suspending certain pension contributions and other changes.

Mnuchin has not said when the government will run out of flexibility to continue making payments, but some analysts have said it could be as soon as early October.