Information on Debt Ceiling Limitations and Increases

AIMD-96-49R: Published: Feb 23, 1996. Publicly Released: Feb 23, 1996.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on public debt ceiling limitations, focusing on: (1) when the outstanding debt subject to the statutory debt limit was within $25 million of the public debt limit between July 1, 1954, and September 30, 1984; (2) debt ceiling crises occurring between September 30, 1984, and February 16, 1996; and (3) revisions to the statutory debt ceiling since June 26, 1946. GAO noted that: (1) Congress has enacted numerous temporary and permanent increases in the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $4.9 trillion; and (2) the public debt limit is very close to the amount of outstanding debt.

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