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What Is the Debt Ceiling?

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The term "Debt Ceiling" is dominating headlines these days.

For those, who are unfamiliar with the debt ceiling, TheStreet is here to help you. 

Debt Ceiling or Debt Limit is the legal limit of money the U.S. Treasury can borrow from the public and the governmental accounts. The amount is borrowed to meet the U.S. government’s existing legal obligations like Social Security and Medical benefits, military salaries, etc.

Once the debt ceiling is reached, the Treasury Department should employ “extraordinary measures” to fund those legal obligations.

However, in order to avoid the risk of default, as per U.S. Treasury Department, Congress has always acted when called upon to raise the debt ceiling.

Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times ~ 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents ~ to raise the debt ceiling.

The debt ceiling was created in 1917 during World War I.

More: What Will Happen If the Government Shuts Down?

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