US national debt hits record $34 trillion as Congress gears up for funding fight

The Treasury Building in Washington, on May 4, 2021. The U.S. Treasury has announced that the nation’s gross national debt has surpassed $34 trillion. The record high comes after Republican lawmakers and the White House had agreed to temporarily lift the nation’s $31.4 trillion debt limit last year after the government ran up against its legal borrowing capacity and needed to implement “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government’s gross national debt has surpassed $34 trillion, a record high that foreshadows the coming political and economic challenges to improve America’s balance sheet in the coming years. The U.S. Treasury Department issued a report Tuesday logging U.S. finances, which have become a source of tension in a politically divided Washington that could possibly see parts of the government shutdown without an annual budget in place. Republican lawmakers and the White House agreed last June to temporarily lift the nation’s debt limit, staving off the risk of what would be a historic default. That agreement lasts until January 2025. Here are some answers to questions about the new record national debt. HOW DID THE NATIONAL DEBT HIT $34 TRILLION? The national debt eclipsed $34 trillion several years sooner than pre-pandemic projections. The Congressional Budget Office’s January 2020 projections had gross federal debt eclipsing $34 trillion in fiscal year 2029. But the debt grew faster than expected because of a multi-year pandemic starting in 2020 that shut down much of the U.S. economy. The government borrowed heavily under then President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden to stabilize the economy and support a recovery. But the rebound came with a surge of inflation that pushed up interest rates and made it more expensive for the government to service its debts. RELATED STORIES Biden […]

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By Donato