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(CNSNews.com) - With the close of business today, the period in which Congress suspended any legal limit on the federal debt expires and as of tomorrow the limit on the federal debt will be set at whatever the level of debt happens to be.
Since President Barack Obama signed the “Bipartisan Budget Act” on Nov. 2, 2015 there had been no legal limit on the amount of money the federal government could borrow until now. That law included a section entitled “Temporary Extension of Public Debt Limit.” It said that the law imposing a limit on the federal debt “shall not apply for the period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on March 15, 2017.”
As of Nov. 2, 2015, the federal debt subject to the legal limit stood at $18,452,108,000,000. As of the close of business on Tuesday, the latest day reported, it stood at $19,865,505,000,000.
That means the federal debt increased by $1,414,397,000,000 during the approximately 16 and a half months that Congress removed any legal limit on it.
“Congress has modified the debt limit 14 times since 2001,” the Congressional Research Service reported in October 2015—a month before Congress modified the debt limit for a 15th time since 2001 by including the language in the Bipartisan Budget Act suspending it.
By suspending the debt limit from Nov. 2, 2015 through March
15, 2017, Congress and President Obama gave the Treasury the authority
to borrow an unlimited amount of money from Nov. 2, 2015 until after the