Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Congress Should Responsibly Lift the Debt Limit

Aug 2, 2021 | Budgets & Projections

The suspension of the debt ceiling expired on July 31, at which point the ceiling was automatically raised to the current level of debt – around $28.5 trillion. The debt ceiling has been suspended for the last two years as a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019. The combination of cash holdings and so-called “extraordinary measures” will allow the United States to avoid breaching the limit until October or November, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. 

The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

"Once again, the debt limit is back in force and lawmakers are without a plan to raise it and prevent us from defaulting on our obligations. It’s not a question of whether or not we should raise it or suspend it again – we absolutely must, and we should have already done so months ago. Any suggestions to do otherwise are deeply irresponsible.

"In light of our nation’s high and rising debt, politicians should not couple the necessary increase in the debt ceiling with further deficit-financed tax cuts or spending increases, as they have the last three times we suspended the debt limit. Instead, Congress should look to historical precedent when debt limit increases were paired with reforms to either directly bring down deficits or encourage a process for improving our fiscal situation. With the national debt already larger than the economy and headed towards a new record, now is the time to think about how we change that going forward so we don’t saddle our children with our bills.

"The sooner, the better when it comes to raising the debt ceiling. And let’s do it in a way that we can be proud of – by setting the stage for improving, instead of worsening, the debt.”

Read: Policymakers Shouldn't Attach More Borrowing to a Debt Ceiling Increase

Read: Q&A: Everything You Should Know About the Debt Ceiling


For more information, please contact Ben Tomchik, deputy chief of staff, at