Statutory debt limit(redirected from United States public debt)
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Statutory debt limit
The cap that Congress imposes on the amount of public debt that may be outstanding whether temporary or permanent. When this limit is reached, the Treasury may not sell new debt issues until Congress raises the limit. For a detailed listing of changes in the limit since 1941, see Budget of the United States Government. See: Debt outstanding subject to limitation.
The maximum amount that a government can borrow. The term especially applies to municipalities; rising above the debt ceiling may trigger a reduction it a municipality's credit rating. Cities and other local governments that are near the debt limit may issue participation certificates--a right to the receivables for a certain project--instead of direct debt. The United States also has a national debt ceiling, but Congress simply raises it every time the national debt approaches the ceiling.