The Debt Ceiling Explained
The debt ceiling is the limit on the amount of money the federal government can borrow.
As part of the deal to end the government shutdown in October, the debt ceiling was suspended through February 7, 2014. But the U.S. may not need to increase the debt limit until May or June, as the Treasury Department can use “extraordinary measures” to increase the government’s borrowing room.
The issue of raising the debt ceiling is fundamentally about Washington’s addiction to over-spending.
- Last year Washington overspent by $680 billion and our national debt is now over $17 trillion
- If we don’t change course the debt is expected to exceed $25 trillion in 2023
Increasing the debt ceiling without equal or greater spending cuts or reforms does nothing to address our long-term fiscal crisis. If Washington acts now to rein in spending, we can get to the point where we never have to address the debt ceiling again.
This is about governing responsibly. Our fragile recovery cannot be hamstrung by uncertainty or continued government overspending.
When Washington takes in record-level revenue but continues to run massive deficits, clearly we have a spending problem. An effort to increase revenue — especially while increasing spending — ignores the underlying problem: Washington’s inability to live within its means.
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