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Debt Limit Analysis: Everything You Need to Know in 40 Slides

Key Takeaways:

  • In August 2019, policymakers enacted a bipartisan budget agreement that suspended the federal debt limit for two years.
  • On August 1, 2021, the debt limit was reinstated at roughly $28.4 trillion—a level covering all borrowing during the suspension— which the government immediately ran up against.
  • At that point, the Treasury secretary deployed emergency borrowing authority—known as “extraordinary measures”—to continue fully funding government operations.
  • If Congress does not raise or further suspend the debt limit, BPC projects that the Treasury Department (Treasury) will most likely be unable to meet its financial obligations at some point in Fall 2021 (what we call the “X Date”).
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