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Debt Limit Analysis

On December 8, 2017, the debt limit suspension authorized by Congress’s September budget deal expired, and the debt limit was reinstated at $20.5 trillion. Absent legislative action, BPC projects that the debt limit “X Date” – when the Treasury Department can no longer meet the federal government’s financial obligations in full and on time – will arrive sometime in March 2018. As of December 8 Treasury had about $69 billion in cash-on-hand and an estimated $270 billion in extraordinary measures available. BPC’s projection is similar to the recent Congressional Budget Office projection that the Treasury Department would run short on cash in late March or early April.

BPC’s debt limit projections carry significant uncertainty due to the unpredictable nature of the federal government’s cash flows and the possibility of unforeseen changes in either fiscal policy or economic conditions. BPC will continue to monitor issues that could affect the debt limit “X Date” and publish updates to the projection as warranted.

Explaining the Debt Limit

Video Explainers

Previous Analysis

For many years, BPC experts have been leading voices in debt limit analysis. Review our previous projections, analyses, and reports. 

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

November 21Thoughts on CBO’s New Debt Limit Report

November 21Debt 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 3Will the Government Shutdown Delay the X Date?

September 25Debt 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 16Debt Limit Update: Still on Track for a Fall X Date

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

May 9Updated X Date Estimate: GSE Dividend Announcements

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

April 26The 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: Fiscal Timeline Under Passage of H.R. 325

January 24: The House Republican Debt Limit Proposal, Explained

January 16: What Is a Government Default on its Debt?

January 16: Platinum Coins and IOUs: Missing the Point

January 16: Debt Limit Analysis Update

January 11: BPC’s Debt Limit Projection: Key Takeaways

January 11: Will the Delay in the Tax Filing Season Affect the X Date?

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