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CBO – Federal Debt and the Statutory Limit

Federal Debt and the Statutory Limit, November 2012: “The Congress has traditionally placed a limit on the total amount of debt that the Department of the Treasury can issue to the public and to other federal agencies. Lawmakers have enacted numerous increases to the debt limit—commonly known as the debt ceiling—some of which have been temporary and many of which have been permanent. Treasury debt is now approaching the current limit. What Is the Current Debt Limit, and When Is It Likely to Be Reached? The current statutory debt limit is $16.394 trillion. As of November 27, 2012, debt subject to that limit stood at $16.279 trillion—$115 billion below the statutory ceiling. The Treasury anticipates that borrowing will reach the current limit near the end of December 2012. However, because the Treasury can take certain measures that it has used previously when borrowing approached or reached the debt limit, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects that the department will be able to continue funding government activities without an increase in the debt limit until mid-February or early March.”

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