By Jonathan Nicholson
Oct. 2 — While the Treasury Department clarified how soon it would need a debt limit hike recently, it left open the question of how much of an increase it wanted. If the White House and congressional Republicans want to put the issue in the rear view mirror for 2016, however, the price will be steep: probably more than $1 trillion in new debt.
That's according to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the White House's own Office of Management and Budget. While Treasury's estimate that it will run out of borrowing room under the current $18.113 trillion debt ceiling Nov. 5 has put the issue on the legislative front burner, little attention has been paid to how much debt will be added by another debt limit hike or suspension sufficient to get through the November 2016 presidential elections.
In July, the OMB estimated the debt subject to the congressionally set debt limit would total $19.225 trillion as of Sept. 30, 2016. With October usually posting a deficit for the government as well, the actual figure to get through Election Day would likely be somewhat higher than $19.225 trillion.
The CBO, in its mid-session review issued in August, put the Sept. 30, 2016, debt amount at a slightly lower $19.043 trillion.
Compared to the where the debt stands currently, the OMB projection would result in an increase of more than $1 trillion, while in the CBO calculation the increase would be closer to $900 billion.
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