Debt Ceiling Watch 2014

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." The current debt limit is $17.211 trillion.

Keep checking back as we update this table (and click here for last year's Debt Ceiling Watch 2013, here for the 2012 watch, and here for the 2011 watch).

Date Extraordinary Measure

Headroom Given

Debt (Gross / Subject to Limit)

President Obama Signs Debt Ceiling Suspension Bill

President Obama signed into law a bill suspending the debt ceiling through March 15, 2015. The bill itself was clean, and lawmakers separately repealed the military COLA provision, offset with a one-year extension of the mandatory sequester.




Debt Issuance Suspension Period for CSRDF and Suspension of Investment in G-Fund

The Treasury Department will enter into a "debt issuance suspension period" from 2/10/2014 through 2/27/2014 and will suspend additional investments to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund (CSRDF). Additionally, The Treasury Department has suspended investments of the Government Securities Investment Fund (G-Fund) of the Federal Employee's Retirement System in interest-bearing securities.

Measures like this have been used in 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Read more here.

CSRDF: $50-$75 billion

G-Fund: $175 billion


Debt Limit Reinstated

The debt limit was temporarily suspended through February 7th under the Continuing Appropriations Act. With its reinstatement, Treasury will begin undertaking "extraordinary measures" to continue paying the nation's bills. However, Treasury was not confident that extraordinary measures would last past February 27th. Read more here.




Treasury Suspends Sales of State and Local Government Series Securities

The Treasury Department announced that it will suspend the sales of State and Local Goverment Series (SLGS) securities on February 7th when the debt ceiling is reinstated. The move does not create any headroom, but it does preserve existing headroom by preventing additional sales that would have counting toward the debt limit. Read more here and here.


Treasury Department Warns Extraordinary Measures Will Not Last as Long as Previous Uses

Secretary Lew warned that extraordinary measures will not be able to extend the nation's borrowing authority as long as in 2011 and 2013, as February is a month with high net outflows due to tax refunds. In addition, there will be less headroom created than in 2013 as some extraordinary measures can only be used at certain times. About $200 billion in headroom can be freed up in February, compared to the $330 billion that was created in 2013. Read more here.