U.S. debt jumped a record $328 billion on Thursday, the first day the federal government was able to borrow money under the deal President Obama and Congress sealed this week. The debt now equals $17.075 trillion, according to figures the Treasury Department posted online on Friday.
The $328 billion increase shattered the previous high of $238 billion set two years ago. The giant jump comes because the government was replenishing its stock of “extraordinary measures” — the federal funds it borrowed from over the last five months as it tried to avoid bumping into the debt ceiling. Under the law, that replenishing happens as soon as there is new debt space. In this case, the Treasury Department borrowed $400 billion from other funds beginning in May, awaiting a final deal from Congress and Mr. Obama.
Usually Congress sets a borrowing limit, or debt ceiling, that caps the total amount the government can be in the red. But under the terms of this week’s deal, Congress set a deadline instead of a dollar cap. That means debt can rise as much as Mr. Obama and Congress want it to, until the Feb. 7 deadline.More