US debt hits 17 trillion dollars

2013-10-19 08:27

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Washington - The US debt jumped above 17 trillion dollars for the first time in history, the Treasury Department said Friday.

The debt at the end of business Thursday, after Congress lifted the debt limit, was 17.075 trillion dollars.

On Wednesday, the debt was 16.7 trillion dollars - a figure held steady by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew as he used extraordinary measures to keep it under that mandated limit since May.

After weeks of stalemate and a government shutdown, Congress agreed on Wednesday to lift the debt limit until February 7, when the battle will resume again unless Republicans and Democrats come to an agreement before then.

The manoeuvres that Lew had undertaken since May meant there was immediate need to replenish various pension funds and other sources he had borrowed from, explaining the huge jump in the debt.

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