Debt Limit Analysis

By Shai Akabas, Brian Collins, Steve Bell

Friday, March 13, 2015

The debt limit is back. After a suspension of more than one year, the debt limit was reinstated on Monday, March 16 at a level near $18.1 trillion. You may remember the long, debt-limit standoff in 2013, which began in May of that year and culminated in a partial government shutdown before the limit was suspended again in late October. It was reinstated briefly in February 2014, then suspended again until now.

Barring quick action by policymakers, the 2015 period of operation at the debt limit could last longer than any of those in recent years. Last week, the Bipartisan Policy Center projected that the Treasury Department would likely have enough extraordinary measures and cash-on-hand to meet all obligations in full and on time through some point in the fourth quarter of 2015 (i.e., sometime between October 1 and December 31), if the debt limit is not increased or suspended before then. Why so long?

Latest Updates

March 13, 2015: Debt Limit Reinstatement: Why This Time is Different l Download the full analysis

March 3, 2015: Debt Limit Update: X Date Most Likely in 4Q of 2015

Extraordinary Measures 101

Updated March 13, 2015: Extraordinary Measures, Simplified

Older Updates


February 12: House-Passed Suspension Would Add Approximately $1 Trillion to Debt Limit in March 2015

February 6: What to do with the Federal Debt Limit? Five Ideas

January 30: BPC Debt Limit Projection: X Date Will Arrive Soon After Debt Limit Reinstatement

January 9: Extraordinary Measures, Simplified


December 19, 2013: Late Start to Tax Filing Season Affects X Date

November 21: Thoughts on CBO’s New Debt Limit Report

November 21: Debt Limit Suspension: Frequently Asked Questions

October 18: BPC Estimates Agreement Will Increase Debt Limit by Roughly $600 billion; Debt Limit Suspended Until February 8, 2014

October 9: Could the X Date be delayed by extending the Debt Issuance Suspension Period?

October 8: As BPC’s X Date Window Narrows, Economic Risks Grow

October 3: Will the Government Shutdown Delay the X Date?

September 25: Debt Limit Update: No Change to BPC X Date Projection

September 10: BPC’s Debt Limit Projection: Key Takeaways

August 26: Statement by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Steve Bell on the New Debt Limit Deadline

July 16: Debt Limit Update: Still on Track for a Fall X Date

May 23: Debt Limit Reinstated at $16.7 Trillion: Updated X Date Estimate

May 9: Updated X Date Estimate: GSE Dividend Announcements

May 8H.R. 807 (the Full Faith and Credit Act) and the Debt Limit

April 26:The Debt Limit: Updated X Date Projection

January 31H.R. 325, The Debt Limit, and Extraordinary Measures: A Technical Note

January 30When Will the Next Debt Limit X Date Be?

January 24

January 16

January 11


Attached files