US Debt Hits Record $16 Trillion

Posted September 4th, 2012 at 7:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Treasury Department confirms the national debt has exceeded $16 trillion for the first time. That amounts to $50,000 worth of debt for every man, woman and child living in the country.

The record was expected and pushes the United States closer to its legal debt limit of just under $16.4 trillion. Officials said the country will likely reach that limit later this year. And unless lawmakers pass new legislation to raise the debt limit, the U.S. will no longer be allowed to borrow more money to pay its bills.

The last time the U.S. reached its debt limit, just last year, partisan bickering by lawmakers delayed action and the nation's credit rating was downgraded.

One of the nation's leading Republicans, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Tuesday called the record debt “another sad reminder of President Obama's broken promise to cut the deficit in half.”

Ben LaBolt, the Obama re-election campaign's press secretary, told Yahoo! News that when it comes to the nation's debt, Republicans should be quoting one of the lines they used often during their national convention last week: 'We built this.'