For the first time ever, the national debt crept beyond $20 trillion on Friday, as shown on USdebtclock.org. Coincidentally, this was the same day that President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that suspending the debt ceiling and permitting the fed to borrow more money.
Prior to this, the debt ceiling had been frozen at about $19.84 trillion since mid-March, and the Treasury Department was forced to use “extraordinary measures” to prevent borrowing from exceeding that level. However, since Trump worked with the Democrats to lift the debt ceiling, the Treasury Department was able to jump right in and begin borrowing money in order to fill more than five months of pent-up demand.
Data released on Monday shows that the total national debt rose by $318 billion and as of Friday hit a whopping $20.162 trillion. Data on the national debt is released every business day and reflects the status of the debt on the previous business day.
It’s typical for the national debt to fatten excessively when the debt ceiling is suspended after the government strains at its borrowing limit for several months. For example, the national debt jumped $339 billion in a single day in 2015 in response to President Obama having signed legislation suspending the debt ceiling after the U.S. had been restricted by its ceiling for nine months.
Because of President Trump’s new law enacted on Friday, the federal government will no longer have to face a borrowing cap until after Dec. 8, when the debt ceiling will again take effect. However, it is expected that Congress will try to finagle a much longer extension prior to that date; because this crew apparently loves to spend taxpayers’ money.
Republicans were pushing for a suspension of 18 months, which would have taken them well past the 2018 mid-term elections. But before they can get there, GOP leaders will likely face some push-back from most House Republicans to agree to some kind of spending limitation.
President Trump criticized the constantly growing national debt under the Obama administration when he was campaigning for president, and after he was elected, he emphasized the need to get the country’s debt and spending under control.
When he first took office, President Trump inherited the staggering $9.3 trillion additional debt that Obama added since 2008. When Obama was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal debt was at $10,626,877,048,913.08.
Eight years later (as of Jan. 18, 2017), the total debt under his presidency had grown to $19,961,467,137,973.64 (86 percent increase). Obama added more debt in his 8 years than all 43 presidents before him combined.
One of the ways in which Trump kept a lid on the debt for nine months was by spending hundreds of billions of dollars in cash that was held by the government, which reduced the need for more borrowing, but that only worked for just so long.
But last week President Trump suggested he might be open to the notion of doing away with the debt ceiling altogether.
That idea is likely to be opposed by most Republicans who see the occasional battle over the debt ceiling as a way to curry spending reforms. But Trump pointed out that the periodic rush to vote to raise or suspend the debt ceiling continuously “complicates things.”
The debt ceiling is a statutory limit on the amount of money the government can borrow. “It’s really not necessary, because you’re talking about budget,” Trump said, noting, “As long as it’s there, it will never be violated.”
When President Trump struck a deal with the Democrats to suspend the debt ceiling until the middle of December 2017, many conservatives were outraged. The plan was to attach spending restraint conditions on any deal before allowing to more government borrowing, but that was thwarted.
The Republican Study Committee, for example, told House Speaker Paul Ryan that the group is against the deal in a letter dated Sept. 7: “While some have advocated for a ‘clean’ debt limit increase, this would simply increase the borrowing authority of the government while irresponsibly ignoring the urgency of reforms,” wrote Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., the RSC chairman. “Worse yet is attaching the debt limit to legislation that continues the status quo or even worsens the trajectory on spending, such as the deal announced yesterday by the President and Congressional Leadership. The RSC Steering Committee opposes this proposal.”
Trump, on the other hand, said the deal signals a “different relationship” and a “dialogue” he is having with Congress.