February 12th, 2010
04:11 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama approves $1.9 trillion debt limit hike

President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a record $1.9 trillion increase in the government's borrowing cap.
President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a record $1.9 trillion increase in the government's borrowing cap.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed into law Friday a record $1.9 trillion increase in the government's borrowing cap.

The legislation, which passed Congress largely along party lines, raises the debt ceiling to $14.294 trillion.

The measure also enacts a statutory pay as you go, or "pay-go," procedure requiring lawmakers to find ways to pay for proposed spending increases or tax cuts by offsetting them with higher taxes or reduced spending elsewhere in the budget.

The debt limit hike is expected to cover the Treasury's borrowing needs past the November mid-term elections and into 2011.

If the debt ceiling were ever breached, the country would effectively be in default. That would slam bonds, the dollar and creditors' portfolios.

Last week, Obama called the bill necessary to "help usher out an era of irresponsibility and begin putting the country back on a fiscally sustainable path."

Pay-go doesn't reduce the debt already accrued, but it would put the brake on future increases - a helpful first step, budget experts say.

The effectiveness of pay-go, however, depends on its parameters. The strongest form would not allow any policy to be exempt.

However, the pay-go measure now signed into law exempts some expensive measures, such as the cost of a permanent extension of middle class tax cuts.

It also would exempt the Medicare "doctor fix" for five years and the extensions of relief from the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax for two years.

Supporters of pay-go often credit the policy with helping the Clinton administration create an annual budget surplus after combating the country's annual deficits in the 1990s. But the pay-go law in place at the time did not exempt any expensive policies, said budget expert Charles Konigsberg, author of the book "America's Priorities."

–CNN's Jeanne Sahadi, Alan Silverleib, and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report


Filed under: national debt • President Obama
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Doug Kennedy

    I don't understand how people can complain about getting tax cuts if you make $250000 dollars or less. Otherwise you can kiss your money goodbye to the rich. I'd rather be a country that helps the poor than be in a country with an aristocracy. I think that you conservative hacks would care if the country was poor. And to believe that the free market makes everything better and the goverment did nothing is idiotic. That's right call me a socialist cuz that is the only come back you can come up with!!!

    February 12, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    I still see that even minutes after I comment, it seems there are individuals who are still instisting putting blame on one party because they have a D or R behind their name. I have some news for you in the form of a question; who elected those people into office? I think you clearly know the answer to that distinguishable question. If everyone knew how the government was set up, maybe we could get some traction; if you look into the poltical scheme of things, it says that the people vote directly for the 435 house members; yet, we still claim that we are not responsible; it's someone else's fault, it seems to the majority of us. I am quite tired of this inutile nonsense. I am telling this to adults who are supposed to be more mature than me; that is commiserative to put it nicely. Wise up people; I and my generation already have to pay for your decades of irresponsibility; my generation does not need to live with incautious people who are not only financially unwise but also people who are arraignment. Please, follow and think by logic not by your emotions.

    February 12, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Robert

    Finialy!!! The president has come home! Now we can work on getting rid of the debt forced upon us by the previous leaders and begin gettng this country moving forward. Now all we need IS Emergency Unemployment extentions that are more then just a band aid. Then start working on Getting jobs that are geared to other types of construction and then healthcare reform. Will we ever see a congress that actually works for the benifit of us all? Doubtfull, but Im puting all my State Reps on Notice. Change your ways, or I change you.

    February 12, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. John in Washington

    For all you fools who blame Bush for the economy, just wait to see what happens after this guy gets done with it. Oh don't worry though, he'll still blame it on the previous administartion, and you people will still suckle from his bottle of lies; like you always do. Bush's largest deficit was $400B (which does anger me); but Obama's is $1.3T, and you people still love him! Who the heck do you think is going to pay for all of that debt? WE ARE, OUR CHILDREN, and THEIR CHILDREN!!!

    February 12, 2010 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  5. What Would John Galt Say?

    Hey! Greeeeeaaaat! (who do we make the check out too?).... and, I know, I know: it's all George Bush's fault...

    February 12, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. me

    This would be like a family asking their credit card company to increase their limit to 1.9 million.....think about that.

    Palin 2012 :) Moms rule :)

    February 12, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  7. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Most people including myself don't understand the dynamics behind this spending, but I have a good clue. Read about our U.S. monetary value system and you perhaps can better understand.

    February 12, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  8. me

    Doug Kennedy....you are soooooo misguided.....please do some research :)

    February 12, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    I am going to put this in easier to understand format; We the people voted for those in office; we kept on re-electing them; we kept on putting blame on the other party; we kept on using offensive words to insult one another because we did not want to accept the blame for ourselves. So, the only logical blame here, for the situation we are in right now, are we the people. Let me inform some of you individuals who do not know how to think logically:
    I think that both parties need to start the correct form of thinking to do what might not be too popular and doing what is right and necessary. To have a prosperous America again, we have to educate ourselves further beyond than we do right now; let me explain.
    Refrain from slang: Slang is an informal and sometimes private vocubulary that expresses the solidarity of a group such as teenagers, rock musicians, or supporters of any groups or organizations. Although, it does have certain vitality, slang is a code that not everyone understands, and it is too informal for most professional, written work.
    Refrain from sexist language: Sexist language is language that sterotypes any type of gender of a human being. Such language arises from sterotypical thinking, from traditional pronoun use, and from words used to refer indefinitely to both sexes.
    Refrain from general steorotypical thinking: When you think or express your ideas in writing or in oratory manners, be sure to think them out clearly, professionaly, and in an intelligent manner.
    Most importantly, refrain from offensive language: Obviously it is impolite to use offensive language if you want to be taken in a serious manner. Here are a few examples I keep seeing: libtard, obummer, obambie, odumbie, socialist, communist, retard, and rethuglicans; that type of language is aweless, bad-mannered, contemptuous, impertinent, impious,baneful, flagitious, rancorous, and profanatory.
    We need to start thinking in a broad sense view of what issues and events that are facing the world; economically, scientifically, politically, psychologically, mythologically, legally, historically, cultural, and in a moral/ personal view of the world as well.

    February 12, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. Changewewant

    To: JT the Show Me State College Freshman
    You must be a very clever college freshman to say all those nice logical words.
    However, it is correct that we voted those people into office, but we did not certainly want what they are doing in their offices now. We voted them in to represent our interest, which they are not doing. Our fault was to trust and to believe their lies during the campaign.
    So rather than blaming the generation who voted those people in (which makes you another blamer by the way), just study hard stay in school and you go into politics and try to change America yourself. you sound like you can make a good poltician in the future (no sarcasm intended)

    February 12, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  11. harold

    When was the last time the Republicans balanced the USA budget?..Yes you are right.. 1930... during the Great Depression.. Balanced budget and soup lines.."Them"... Republicans sure know how to do it for us poor folks.... huh?...See historynet.com.. 1930 budget

    February 12, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Harry

    More Americans are stupid because they don't think for themselves!!

    February 12, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Harry

    Only idiots truly believe economic problems are caused by just the President, no matter what party they are in. Get a clue

    February 12, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. Dean

    I'll sure be glad when our interest rates approach 20% as they did under Carter. The 1/2 to 1 % interest on my savings sure makes retirement a little difficult.

    February 12, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. Dean

    Doug Kennedy February 12th, 2010 5:42 pm ET

    I don't understand how people can complain about getting tax cuts if you make $250000 dollars or less. Otherwise you can kiss your money goodbye to the rich. I'd rather be a country that helps the poor than be in a country with an aristocracy.

    Guess what,,,,Cuba is less than 100 miles away. Good luck there.

    February 12, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    You can rant and rave and scream and holler- but why weren't you doing that while it was happening? The gwb era was so hard on America- and we'll be paying for it for some time. Get a grip Palinites- or at least take an econ class!

    February 12, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  17. polly

    Spending control is not his game. Change is. And boy, what change he's spending...

    February 12, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. polly

    JT- Plain English. Freedom. The people have the right to speak as they wish. Everyone's fed up with the system. Who the hell should we vote for? I think the people should demand the right kind of change or they shouldn't vote for anyone. You're right, the people need to demand change- a constructive one.

    February 12, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. Charlie in Maine

    Provide for thr common defense promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty...................that is why we have a government. If you think that is free then fluff up your pillow and dream away.

    Part of the deficit under Obama is due to the fact that we are fighting two wars and putting the price on the books. Bush kept the wars off budget. I would like to put my mortgage "off budget" but I live in the real world.

    February 12, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. brains

    sarah would have this whole thing fixed by now, because she can see Russia from her home....

    February 12, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    @JT the Show Me State College Freshman, you are restoring my faith in the youth of America. You are correct both of the major parties are to blame, and it is time to stop electing these people as our representatives.
    Both of these parties are bought and paid for by the Special interest groups, PACs, Unions, Wall Street, banking, global Corporations are all contributing billions to re-election funds that undermine the people's representation
    I say in 2010 ask who is funding your representative? Look to see where the money is coming from? If the money comes from outside your voter district then who do you think they will represent if they are elected or re-elected? We need to bring these professional politicians back into line.
    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.

    February 12, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  22. Ray E.

    Borrow today, tomorrow you pay. Franklin Deleno Roosevelt, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton left you holding the bag. Barrack or what ever his name is, is staring into the headlights saying full speed ahead. But you ain't rich so you ain't going to pay, or are you? Got a job? Is it secure? Are you sure?

    February 12, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. m smith

    It seems most don't understand this bill or what a good thing the president has done. Some want to spend time calling him names like odumbo which is really stupid since he is much smarter than your average politician. In fact the othet night a scholar said that was one of his problems, he thought most people where as smart as him and could understand what he was doing and talking about. Apparently that is not the case.AS seen here in some of your nasty comments. Being nasty must be a prerequisit to being a republican as the only ones I hear from are of the Rush Limbaugh varity.

    February 12, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. Liberalism is a Mental Disorder

    Doug Kennedy – I hate to break it to you but taxing the rich more hurts the poor more....you ever been given a job by a poor person? Didn't think so...if you allow the gov't to take disposible income away in the form of taxes (which they will quickly waste on things such as Kobe beef for BHO and his croonies every week) it means less money for JOBS.....Extending unemployment benefits AGAIN would be idiotic...BHO has already extended benefits to over two years now and all it does is encourage people to stay unemployed....

    When the gov't gets involved it only makes things worse because of their mismanagement and inefficincies, can't believe you haven't figured that out yet....take the stimulus for example...over a trillion dollars, and now they say they will create about 95K jobs a month for the next year...so a trillion dollars, a little over a million jobs....that is a million dollars per job that pays less than 50K on average....gov't efficiency at its finest!!!

    February 12, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  25. valwayne

    Now Obama and the Democrats are free to engage in another 1.9 Trillion in corrupt spending. That ought to take even them a week or two!!!!

    February 12, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
1 2 3 4