The Debt Ceiling Explained

The House of Representatives is supposed to vote on Tuesday on a no-strings-attached suspension of the debt limit through March 2015. This plan is an irresponsible response to the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit. This legislation does nothing to deal with the real problems in Washington, including overspending and mounting deficits.

What is the debt ceiling?

It 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.

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 $27 trillion in 2024

Lawmakers should work together to increase the debt ceiling responsibly with smart spending cuts and meaningful reforms to the biggest drivers of our debt. Members of both parties have agreed that the federal government must work to increase efficiency, eliminate waste and reform entitlement programs. The debt ceiling should be a reminder to Washington that it’s time to live up to those promises and make responsible choices for America’s future.

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.

The Debt Ceiling Explained