US national debt tops $20T for first time in history

The national debt surpassed $20 trillion for the first time in U.S. history on Friday.

According to data released Monday, the total national debt climbed about $318 billion to $20.162 trillion as of Friday, the same day President Donald Trump signed a bill suspending the debt ceiling and allowing the federal borrowing limit to extend until Dec. 8. The deal Trump signed, which also allocated more than $15 billion in disaster aid for Hurricane Harvey, was passed 316-90 in a House vote; all opposed to the measure were Republicans.

“Surpassing $20 trillion in debt is the latest indicator of our nation's dire fiscal condition,” Michael A. Peterson, president and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing America’s long-term fiscal challenges, said in a statement. “As a result of our inability to address our growing debt, we are now on pace to spend $6 trillion on interest alone over the next 10 years.”

The U.S. debt ceiling had been capped at around $19.84 trillion since March 15. The 2017 fiscal year budget expires at the end of September.

“America’s debt is projected to grow and compound rapidly in the years ahead. Our budget deficit is on track to exceed $1 trillion annually in just five years,” Peterson said. “The good news is that many solutions exist. In the coming months, Congress and the administration have a critical opportunity to enact fiscally responsible tax reform that grows the economy, not the debt.”