The U.S. Debt Ceiling: Shrinking Headroom

The U.S. government is moving closer to its $12.1 trillion debt ceiling. On Sept. 30, 2009, public debt subject to the limit totaled $11.9 trillion, leaving $250 billion headroom. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services expects Congress to increase the limit this quarter. However, the required legislation may become enmeshed in other current political debates, which will raise uncertainty in the government debt markets and may disrupt some government functioning.

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