The federal government hit the $31.381 trillion debt ceiling last week. House Republicans are pushing for commitments to cut back on the record growth in federal spending before agreeing to allow more borrowing.
Democrats argue that the debt ceiling is "dangerous" and is used as a pawn in partisan budget negotiations. They say that eliminating the debt ceiling would allow the government to borrow whatever it needs and that "the full faith and credit of the United States must never be compromised."
The Biden administration and its Democrat allies in Congress argue that raising the debt ceiling does not allow "new" spending but only allows the government to meet its current obligations. Republicans say that congressional approval of new spending programs has repeatedly forced the government to keep hitting its borrowing limit.
The national debt has more than tripled in less than 15 years due to programs related to the housing bailout, 20 years of military presence in Afghanistan, COVID emergency response measures, and routine funding increases for defense and social programs. The federal government spent $4.4 trillion in the fiscal year 2019 and is on pace to spend more than $6 trillion in the current fiscal year.