The Debt Ceiling Has Been Increased Many Times Since 1940
Since June 25th, 1940, the United States has increased its debt ceiling a total of 92 times.
Sometime over the next couple of months, unless something absolutely crazy happens, the nation will agree to its 93rd debt ceiling increase over the past 73 years.
The data on the nation's debt ceiling increases, which is taken from WhiteHouse.gov, starts in 1940. The first debt ceiling increase in the data, 54 Stat. 526, was signed into law on June 25th, 1940 and established a new debt limit of $49 billion.
The latest debt ceiling increase, 127 Stat. 51, was signed into law on February 4th, 2013, and accommodated the increase in debt up to May 19th, 2013. Since that date, the United States has been operating using "extraordinary measures" - "extraordinary measures" that are set to run out by October 17th, 2013, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
The debt ceiling issue is usually used by the party that is NOT currently in the White House to put pressure on the sitting President.
For instance, the debt ceiling was increased a total of seven times while George W. Bush was occupying the White House. Republicans, of course, offered little resistance to increasing the debt ceiling during that time.
The first debt ceiling increase while George W. Bush was in office was signed into law on June 28th, 2002, while the last was signed on October 3rd, 2008. During those eight years, Democrats were holding Bush's feet to the fire on the debt ceiling issue - when Barack Obama won the White House, it was the Republicans that were suddenly tough regarding the debt ceiling issue.
As mentioned, the nation's debt ceiling has been raised 92 times since June 25th, 1940. 54 of those increases were signed into law by a Republican President, while 38 were signed into law by a Democratic President.
There was a Democratic Senate majority when 70 of those debt ceiling increases were signed into law - the remaining 22 were signed into law while the Republicans had the Senate.
10 debt ceiling changes were signed into law while the Republicans had control of the House, while 82 were signed into law while the Democrats had control of the House of Representatives.
In short, there is a long history of raising the debt ceiling in the United States. There have been many increases in the past, and there will be many more in the future. It's safe to say that all of the debate over future increases will be contentious and hostile and split almost entirely across party lines, just as they have been in the past.
Source: History of Debt Ceiling Increases
Filed under: General Knowledge