Debt ceiling: the “extraordinary measures” that the US must take after reaching its debt limit

  • Natalia Sherman
  • BBC News, business reporter in New York

President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen

image source, Getty Images


The United States reached the debt ceiling on Thursday, January 19.

The United States reached the debt ceiling on Thursday and the Treasury Department immediately took special measures to avoid a payment default that could be devastating.

Reaching the debt limit means the government can’t borrow any more money unless Congress agrees suspend or change the cap, which currently stands at almost $31.4 trillion.

Typically that is what happens.

Since 1960, politicians have moved to increase, extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit 78 times, including three in the last six months alone.

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