Federal Debt Up $7K Per Household Since End of Shutdown

March 19, 2014 - 6:23 PM
Barack Obama and John Boehner

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) - The federal government has increased its debt by $811,699,611,000.51—borrowing $7,057.89 per U.S. household—in the five months that have elapsed since Oct. 16, 2013.

That is the day the House Republican leadership agreed to a deal with President Barack Obama to pass legislation ending a two-week partial government shutdown. The deal funded the government into January 2014 and suspended the legal limit on the federal debt into February 2014.

As of the close of business on Oct. 16, 2013, the total debt of the U.S. government stood at $16,747,360,549,057.23, according to the U.S. Treasury. Shortly after midnight on Oct. 17, Obama signed the debt-and-spending deal, reopening the partially shut government.

By the close of business on March 18, the latest day reported, the total U.S. government debt had climbed to $17,559,060,160,057.74—up $811,699,611,000.51 since Oct. 16 debt-and-spending deal. That equals $7,057.89 for each of the 115,006,000 households that the Census Bureau estimates are now in the United States.

In the five months leading up to Oct. 16, the U.S. Treasury officially reported in its Daily Treasury Statement that the U.S. government debt-- which was then subject to the legal limit set by Congress--did not increase at all.

As of the close of business on May 17, 2013, the Treasury had said the debt subject to limit was $16,699,396,000,000. That was just about $25 million below the legal limit of $16,699,421,095,673.60.

As of the close of business on Oct. 16, 2013, just hours before Obama signed the debt-and-spending deal, the debt subject to the legal limit was still $16,699,396,000,000, according to the U.S. Treasury.

It had not moved in 150 days.

Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee on Oct. 10, 2013, Treasury Secretary Lew said that the Treasury had managed to keep the debt from exceeding the statutory limit for such an extended period of time by using what he called “extraordinary measures.” He told the committee, however, that the Treasury would no longer have the capacity to borrow money after Oct. 17—effectively setting that as the deadline for the House Republican leadershipt to consent to a debt-and-spending deal with Obama.

“We hit the debt limit in May,” Lew testified. “We've been using extraordinary measures. You know, we call them extraordinary measures but everyone now assumes that they're infinite."

“I warned in August that we were going to run out of extraordinary measures sometime in the middle of October,” said Lew. “And I even went a step further, which mostly has never been done, and said we're going to have roughly $50 billion on cash. A month later, based on the year-end tax receipts and expenditures, I updated it and I said no later than October 17 we would run out of borrowing capacity. And instead of $50 billion we would have roughly $30 billion.

“Now,” said Lew, “I think that should indicate that what I said in each of these correspondences is true.”

On Oct. 17, the day Obama signed the deal to fund the government into January 2014 and suspend the debt limit, the portion of the debt that had been subject to the legal limit jumped $328,148,000,000. Since then, it has jumped another $484,699,000,000.

On Jan. 16, Congress enacted another appropriations bill to fund the government through the rest of fiscal 2014, which ends on Sept. 30. On Feb. 12, Congress passed a bill to suspend the debt limit through March 15 of 2015.

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.