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USA national debt tops $20T for first time in history

The federal debt officially surpassed $20 trillion for the first time on Friday, as the debt subject to the legal limit set by Congress jumped $317,645,000,000 in one day-following President Donald Trump's signing of a spending-and-debt-limit deal that will fund the government through December 8. After President Trump signed the legislation suspending the debt limit, the total debt immediately jumped to $20,162,177,000,000 and the portion of it subject to the limit jumped to $20,126,392,000,000, according to the Daily Treasury Statement for September 8, 2017. Before the bill's completion, the US debt was sitting around $19.84 trillion. The Treasury then started using what it calls "extraordinary measures" to keep the debt subject to the limit about $25 milion below the limit.

"Surpassing $20 trillion in debt is the latest indicator of our nation's dire fiscal condition", Michael Peterson, president and CEO of the fiscally conservative Peter G. Peterson Foundation, told The Hill. The deal Trump signed, which also allocated more than $15 billion in disaster aid for Hurricane Harvey, was passed 316-90 in a House vote; all opposed to the measure were Republicans. Since Mr. Trump's inauguration, the debt has increased about $215 billion from around $19.94 trillion.

"The extension of debt ceiling and government funding debates into fourth-quarter 2017 may limit Congress' ability to pass tax reform", analysts at the rating agency wrote in a report. But Mr. Trump ultimately had his way, and the negotiations inside the Oval Office outweighed the immediate legislative desires of members of the GOP. Because Congress will have such a short time frame until it has to return to the matter of raising the debt ceiling, discussion in Washington may quickly dissolve into squabbling over that issue instead of focusing on tax reform.



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