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Last week, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of a new budget resolution, an action that was followed by the House of Representatives a day later, as it approved the same 10-year blueprint for the future budget of the federal government.
The measure is highly significant in two ways. First, it clears the legislative path toward the repeal and replacement of the controversial and failing Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare, through the same means by which it became law.
Second, it would allow for the national debt to increase by an additional $9.7 trillion over the next 10 fiscal years, through its Fiscal Year 2026, which ends September 30, 2026.
That very large figure is perhaps best understood in the context of how the national debt has grown during President Obama’s presidency. As of this date, the total public debt outstanding of the U.S. government is all-but-kissing the $20 trillion mark, having grown by over $9.3 trillion during the past eight years.
To have grown by that much during the eight years of President Obama’s tenure in office, the U.S. national debt has had to increase at an average rate of $1.16 trillion per year. The Congress’s new budget blueprint would slow that average growth rate to $0.97 trillion per year, which is about 16 percent slower than than the average speed at which it grew during the past eight years.
At present, it is likely that the national debt will surpass $20 trillion in February 2017. The only reason it has not done so already is because the U.S. Treasury Department put the brakes on its issuance of new debt back in December 2016, to keep it under that amount through the end of President Obama’s term in office, in anticipation of the reimposition of the national debt ceiling on March 16, 2017.
When the national debt ceiling goes back into effect on that date, the national debt is projected to be $20.1 trillion.
The next major event that will help determine how fast the national debt will grow will be Donald Trump’s release of his first budget proposal, which should come within several weeks after he is sworn into office as the next President of the United States on Friday, January 20, 2017.