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Thursday, December 10, 2009

$1.8 Trillion in New Debt

Hoping to somehow avoid an election year backlash over the ballooning federal debt, Democrats in Congress plan to lift the debt ceiling by $1.8 trillion before the end of the year.

Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Only in Washington:
In a bold but risky year-end strategy, Democrats are preparing to raise the federal debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion before New Year’s rather than have to face the issue again prior to the 2010 elections.

“We’ve incurred this debt. We have to pay our bills,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told POLITICO Wednesday. And the Maryland Democrat confirmed that the anticipated increase could be as high as $1.8 trillion — nearly twice what had been assumed in last spring’s budget resolution for the 2010 fiscal year.

The leadership is betting that it’s better for the party to take its lumps now rather than risk further votes over the coming year. But the enormity of the number could create its own dynamic, much as another debt ceiling fight in 1985 gave rise to the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction act mandating across-the-board spending cuts nearly 25 years ago.
The one positive that may come of this debt allowance may be Senator Gregg's intention to attach his deficit reduction task force legislation to any bill containing a ceiling increase.

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