Pelosi Predicts: $2.4 Trillion Added to Federal Credit-Card Limit Will Last Only 18 Months

August 2, 2011 - 2:03 PM

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) AP Photo

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) AP Photo

(CNSNews.com) - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) is predicting that the $2.4 trillion that Congress has now added to the limit on the federal credit card--by increasing the legal debt limit--will be exhausted by the Treasury in only 18 months.

In a speech delivered on the House floor last night explaining why she favored the debt-limit bill, Pelosi repeatedly cited as one reason Democrats should join her in voting for it her belief that the new borrowing authority the bill grants the Treasury will last the government 18 months.

“And that’s another reason why I’m supporting this bill,” said Pelosi, “because the President was successful in impressing upon the Congress that we needed the full time, the 18 months so that we can have the Americans’ kitchen table, people sitting around that table and sitting around the boardroom table, would all know that you can rely on the United States of America to meet its obligations. Okay?”

If, as Pelosi anticipates, the $2.4 trillion in new borrowing authority were to last only 18 months that would mean that the Treasury had increased the national debt by approximately $133.33 billion per month during that period.

At that rate, the Treasury would be acquiring new debt almost as quickly as it did in fiscal 2010—the last completed fiscal year—and more than 50 percent faster than in fiscal 2008, the last full fiscal year in which George W. Bush was president.

According to the Daily Treasury Statements published by the U.S. Treasury Department, the federal debt subject to the legal limit set by Congress increased by $1.657406 trillion in fiscal 2010 (climbing from $11.853434 trillion to $13.510840 trillion). During that year, Treasury increased the debt by an average of $138.117 billion per month

In fiscal 2009, the federal debt subject to the legal limit increased by $1.893584 trillion (climbing from $9.959850 trillion to $11.853434 trillion). During that year, Treasury increased the debt by an average of $157.799 billion per month.

In fiscal 2008, the federal debt subject to the legal limit increased by $1.038507 trillion (climbing from $8.921343 trillion to $9.959850 trillion). During that year, Treasury increased the debt by an average of $86.542 billion per month.

Federal debt increased at a far slower pace in fiscal 2007. That year the debt subject to the legal limit began at $8.420278 trillion and climbed to $8.921343 trillion, an increase of $501.065 billion for the year—or an average of $41.755 billion per month.

At $133.33 billion per month pace Pelosi now anticipates, the national debt will increase over the just next four months by more than it increased in all of fiscal 2007.

“So, again,” Pelosi said in her speech yesterday, “make a list of things in the bill that we do not like and things that are not in the bill like revenue, but I urge my colleagues to think about our seniors and to think about the 18 months and what that means in terms of confidence in our society.”