CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
The House is scheduled to consider H.R. 4314, on Wednesday, December 16, 2009, under a same day rule making three other bills in order. The legislation was introduced on Tuesday, December 15, 2009, and no further official action was taken.
The bill would increase the statutory limit on the national debt by $290 billion, from $12.104 trillion to $12.394 trillion.
The statutory national debt limit sets the legal ceiling for how much money the federal government may borrow. The national debt combines both the total debt held by the public (money owed to U.S. debt holders) and intergovernmental holdings (debt held by the U.S. government in certain trust funds). According to the Department of Treasury, the current national debt is $12.071 trillion, or approximately $33 billion away from reaching the existing debt ceiling. According to press reports, the debt limit would have to be raised again before March, 2010.
The national debt was last extended from $11.315 trillion to $12.104 trillion when the Democrats dollar "stimulus" bill, just ten months ago. Since Democrats took control of Congress in January, 2007, the nation's debt has increased by 39 percent, from $8.670 trillion to $12.071 trillion. The House-passed budget for FY 2010 raised the limit to $13.223 trillion in 2010, or 9.2 percent above the current debt limit. Under the so-called "Gephardt rule," a debt limit attached to a budget resolution is deemed to have passed in the House, but the Senate must still pass the increase, which it has yet to do so. Initially, reports indicated that Democrats planned to increase the debt limit by $1.8 trillion, allowing them to borrow enough to pay for all their spending in 2010. Instead, Democrats now plan to pass a smaller increase that will need to be raised again, most likely in February.
If the debt limit is raised every by roughly $300 billion every two months for a year, that's equivalent to $1.8 trillion, or $15,413 per U.S. household, in increased national debt.
A CBO cost estimate for H.R. 4314 was not available as of press time, but the legislation would permit the national debt to increase by $290 billion.