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2011 U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis

2011 U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis

What Is the 2011 U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis?

The 2011 U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis was a combative discussion in Congress that happened in July 2011 in regards to the maximum amount of borrowing the federal government ought to be permitted to embrace.

Understanding the 2011 U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis

The federal government has seldom accomplished a balanced budget and its budget deficit swelled following the 2007-08 Financial Crisis and the Great Recession. In the 2008 fiscal year, the deficit remained at $458.6 billon, enlarging to $1.4 trillion out of 2009 as the government participated in a monstrous fiscal policy response to the economic downturn.

Somewhere in the range of 2008 and 2010, Congress raised the debt ceiling from $10.6 trillion to $14.3 trillion. Once more then in 2011, as the economy gave early indications of recovery and federal debt moved toward its limit, talks started in Congress to balance spending needs against the always rising debt burden.

Warmed banter resulted, setting advocates of spending and debt in opposition to fiscal traditionalists. Supportive of debt legislators contended that neglecting to raise the limit would require immediate cuts to spending previously authorized by Congress, which could bring about late, partial, or missed payments to Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries, government employees, and government contractors.

In addition, they attested the Treasury could suspend interest payments on existing debt as opposed to keep funds committed to federal programs. The prospect of cutting back on currently guaranteed spending was marked a crisis by debt defenders. Then again, the phantom of a technical default on existing Treasury debt irritated financial markets. Fiscal preservationists contended that any debt limit increase ought to accompany imperatives on the growth of federal spending and debt accumulation.

Outcome of the 2011 U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis

Congress settled the debt ceiling crisis by passing the Budget Control Act of 2011, which became law on August 2, 2011. This act permitted the debt ceiling to be brought by $2.4 trillion up in two phases. In the principal phase, a $400 billion increase would happen immediately, trailed by another $500 billion except if Congress disliked it. The subsequent phase considered an increase of between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion, additionally subject to Congressional dissatisfaction. In return, the act remembered $900 billion for log jams in arranged spending increases more than a 10-year period and laid out a special committee to examine extra spending cuts.

In effect, the legislation raised the debt ceiling from $14.3 trillion to $16.4 trillion by January 27, 2012.

Following the section of the act, Standard and Poor's made the extreme stride of minimizing the United States long-term credit rating from AAA to AA+, even however the U.S. didn't default. The credit rating agency refered to the unremarkable size of deficit reduction plans relative to the reasonable future prospects for politically driven spending and debt accumulation.

Debt Approval Process Leading to the 2011 U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis

The U.S. Constitution enables Congress to borrow money. Before 1917, this power was practiced by Congress approving the Treasury to borrow indicated amounts of debt to fund limited expenses, for example, war-time military spending that would be reimbursed after the finish of threats. This kept the national debt directly linked to authorized spending.

In 1917, Congress forced a limit on federal debt as well as individual issuance limits. In 1939, Congress gave the Treasury greater flexibility by they way it managed the overall structure of federal debt, giving it an aggregate limit to work inside. Nonetheless, by appointing debt management authority to the Treasury, Congress had the option to break the direct association between authorized spending and the debt that finances it.

While permitting greater flexibility to raise spending, this practice likewise made a requirement for Congress to more than once raise the debt limit while spending takes steps to invade available credit. Due to incidental political resistance to the possibility of constantly extending the federal debt, this course of raising the debt limit has now and again incited debate, which happened during the 2011 Debt Ceiling Crisis.


  • In 2008, the federal budget deficit remained at $458.6 billon, which broadened to $1.4 trillion the next year as the government spent vigorously to help the economy.
  • The 2011 U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis was one of a series of intermittent discussions over expanding the total size of the U.S. national debt.
  • The crisis was brought about by enormous increases in federal spending following the Great Recession.
  • To determine the crisis, Congress passed a law that increased the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion.