The national debt hit $19 trillion for the first time ever on Friday, and came in at $19.012 trillion. It took a little more than 13 months for the debt to climb by $1 trillion. The national debt hit $18 trillion on Dec. 15, 2014. That’s a slightly stepped-up pace compared to the last few $1 trillion mileposts. It took about 14 months for the debt to climb from $17 trillion to $18 trillion, and about the same amount of time to go from $16 trillion to $17 trillion.
The federal government has been free to borrow as much as needed for the last several years. Years ago, Congress passed legislation to increase the debt ceiling to a certain level of debt, and borrowing had to stop once that limit was hit. But increasingly, Congress has instead allowed more borrowing by suspending the debt ceiling for long periods of time. That allows the government to borrow any amount it needs until the suspension period ends. FULL REPORT