Raising the ceiling
In 30 years, the national debt has gone from just under $1 trillion to $14.3 trillion, and is projected to reach just under $21 trillion by 2016. Congress has passed new debt limits over the years that allow the government to keep running, and is currently preparing to debate whether to raise the ceiling this year.
SOURCE: Office of Management and Budget, White House. GRAPHIC: Tobey/The Washington Post.
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