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Chart from U.S. Department of Treasury Shows Alarming Milestone the National Debt Just Passed

"...a national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren..."

The U.S. national debt hit $18 trillion for the first time on Friday, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

A website that tracks the national debt said it rose to $18.005 trillion, a jump of more than $40 billion from two days prior. There was no figure given for Thanksgiving, a holiday.

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The milestone is likely to renew Republican scrutiny over the federal government's spending habits, just as the GOP is set to widen its majority in the House and resume control of the Senate in 2015. While Republicans have made a point of saying they would use their new control of Congress to fight Obamacare and ease federal regulations, they have also made a point of saying debt reduction is critical.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Congress must take steps to pare back "a national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren, robbing them of benefits that they will never see and leaving them with burdens that will be nearly impossible to repay."

The national debt has soared nearly 70 percent under President Barack Obama. When he took office, it stood at $10.626 trillion, and it's risen nearly $7.5 trillion under Obama.

The annual budget deficit was above $1 trillion in each of the first four years of Obama's presidency. The budget deficit was nearly $500 billion in the last fiscal year, but it's expected to grow again if no changes to current law are made.

According to the government, national debt held by the public now stands at $12.922 trillion, and intergovernmental holdings — which reflects government borrowings against certain federal programs — are just over $5 trillion.

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