The U.S. national debt is creeping up again, after holding steady for the last few months thanks to the annual flood of individual and corporate tax receipts. Total government debt hit a record $19.38 trillion on Thursday, up nearly $98 billion from the day before. It’s the first time it has ever exceeded $19.3 trillion. The debt will soar higher still in the coming months, and is expected to approach $20 trillion by the time President Obama leaves office.

The total debt had been essentially flat since March, when it hit $19.2 trillion. Growth in the national debt often slows or plateaus in the spring and early summer, as tax receipts in April help balance out federal spending that’s on a current pace to exceed receipts by $500 billion. READ MORE