(CNSNews.com) - The federal debt moved above $19,400,000,000,000 for the first time as of the close of business on Tuesday, according to the data released today by the U.S. Treasury.
At the close of business on Monday, July 18, the total federal debt was $19,391,094,247,028.26, according to the Treasury. By the close of business on Tuesday, July 19, it had risen to $19,402,361,890,929.46.
On Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, Congress passed the “Bipartisan Budget Act,” which suspended the legal debt limit until March 15, 2017. President Obama signed that bill into law on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015
At the close of business on Oct. 30, the federal debt stood at $18,152,981,685,747.52.
In the less than nine months since then, the federal debt has increased by $1,249,380,205,181.94
Title IX of the Bipartisan Budget Act is entitled “Temporary Extension of Public Debt Limit.” The Congressional Research Service summary explains that part of the law this way: “The public debt limit is suspended through March 15, 2017. On March 16, 2017, the limit is increased to accommodate obligations issued during the suspension period.”
Prior to President Obama signing the Bipartisan Budget Act, the Treasury had been in a "debt issuance suspension period" that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had declared on March 16, 2015. During that "debt issuance suspension period" the Treasury took what it calls "extraordinary measures" to prevent the debt from exceeding what was then the legal limit.