The US Treasury Department building is seen in Washington, DC, January 19, 2023.
Saul Loeb | Afp | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The national debt of the United States reached a historic milestone by passing $33 trillion for the first time — less than two weeks before the federal government faces a potential shutdown over a lack of funding authorization
The debt, which equals the amount of money borrowed by the federal government to cover operating expenses, hit $33.04 trillion on Monday, according to the Treasury Department.
A roughly 50% increase in federal spending between fiscal years 2019 and 2021 contributed to the debt topping $33 trillion, the department said.
Tax cuts, stimulus programs, and decreased tax revenue as a result of widespread unemployment during the Covid-19 pandemic were factors in driving government borrowing to new heights.
The issue of the debt is at the center of a standstill in Congress over a spending bill that would sustain the government until the next funding cycle.
Republican lawmakers are pushing for less spending, while Democrats back President Joe Biden’s programs, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, which is estimated to cost more than $1 trillion over the next decade, according to a University of Pennsylvania budget model.
But that bill is not expected to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Congress has until Sept. 30 to pass a spending bill.