Debt Ceiling Watch 2012

In order to avoid bumping up against the statutory debt ceiling, the Department of the Treasury has begun undertaking a number of so-called "extraordinary measures".

Keep checking back as we update this table (and click here for last year's Debt Ceiling Watch of 2011).

Date Extraordinary Measure Headroom Given

Debt (Gross / Subject to Limit)


Treasury Re-affirms Debt Limit to last to early 2013

Today, the Treasury Department re-affirmed that the Debt Ceiling, currently $16.4 trillion, will last until early 2013. Treasury will once again use extraordinary measures to prevent a breach of the limit. The debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff are thus expected to occur near one another. Read more here

  $16,198,994/ $16,159,952

Current Debt Limit said to last to early 2013

Today, Secretary Geithner said that the current $16.4 trillion debt ceiling will be sustainable until sometime in early 2013. The ceiling is expected to be hit sometime after the November elections and before the end of 2012, but due to extraordinary measures, such as the ones taken last summer, the ceiling would not be hit until early 2013. Read more here

  $15,712,823/ $15,670,365

Debt Ceiling Increases by $1.2 Trillion

Today, the Debt Ceiling was increased to $16.4 trillion because the Congress failed to pass into law a measure to prevent the increase requested by President Obama earlier this month. This is a $1.2 trillion increase. The Treasury Department estimates that this latest increase will be sufficient until the end of 2012. Read more here.

  $15,193,975/ $15,236,223

Senate fails to Block Debt Ceiling Increase 

Today, the Senate voted 52-44 to prevent a vote on blocking the debt ceiling increase. This comes after last weeks House vote where the House did vote to prevent the increase in the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion as requested by President Obama. Because the Senate failed to block it, the debt ceiling will increase to $16.4 trillion at the close of business on January 27th. Read more here. 

  $15,193,975/ $15,236,232

House Votes to Block Debt Ceiling Increase

Today, the House of Representatives voted 239-176 to block a $1.2 trillion debt ceiling increase requested by President Obama, pursuant to the Budget Control Act. This is largely a symbolic vote because it is unlikely that the Senate would also vote to block the increase and the president can veto the measure if it does. The debt ceiling is scheduled to increase to $16.4 trillion at the close of business on January 27th. Read more here. 

  $15,236,279/ $15,193,975

Suspension of New G-Fund Securities

Today, the Treasury Department stopped issuing new securities for the retirement savings program for federal and postal workers, commonly known as the G-Fund.

Measures like this have been used in 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2011. Read more here.

Unknown $15,236,288/ $15,193,975

President Obama Requests $1.2 trillion Increase

Today, President Obama formally requested that the debt ceiling be raised by an additional $1.2 trillion. This is the legal limit set in the Budget Control Act that the president can ask for because the Super Committee did not find more than $1.2 trillion in savings. If the Super Committee had found more than $1.2 trillion, the maximum ask would have equaled that amount, up to $1.5 trillion. If the Congress does not disapprove this increase, which it has 15 days to do, the new ceiling would be $16.4 trillion. Read more here.

$0 Billion $15,236,332/ $15,193,976

Debt Ceiling Reached and Suspension of Reinvestment of Exchange Stabilization Fund 

Today, the Treasury Department has announced that it has reached the statutory debt ceiling. Additionally, in order to prevent breaching the ceiling, Treasury  suspended reinvestment of funds into the Exchange Stabilization Fund, an extraordinary measure.

Measures like this have been used in 1996, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006 and in 2011. Read more here.

Unknown $15,236,542/ $15,193,975