WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have proposed permitting the federal government to borrow an additional $1.9 trillion to pay its bills. That would permit the national debt to reach $14.3 trillion.
The unpopular legislation is needed to allow the federal government to issue bonds to fund programs and prevent a first-time default on obligations.
The record increase in the so-called debt limit is required because the budget deficit has spiraled out of control in the wake of a recession that cut tax revenues, the Wall Street bailout, and increased spending by the Democratic-controlled Congress.
Congress has never failed to increase the borrowing limit, but it will take 60 votes to pass the legislation under an agreement by top Senate leaders.