4 Questions about the Debt Ceiling, Answered

What is the debt ceiling?

The debt ceiling, also called the debt limit, is a cap on the total amount of money that the federal government is authorized to borrow by selling U.S. Treasury securities, such as bills and savings bonds.

Because the United States runs budget deficits, it must borrow huge sums of money to pay its bills, including interest payments to investors who hold U.S. debt.

Raising the debt limit allows the United States to finance existing obligations — it does not authorize any new spending.

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