National debt surpasses $20 trillion for first time ever. Here’s what it means for you.

National debt surpasses $20 trillion for first time ever. Here’s what it means for you.
The national debt exceeded $20 trillion for the first time last Friday after President Donald Trump signed into law a bill that extended the debt ceiling and provided emergency relief to victims of Hurricane Harvey. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Untied States national debt has officially topped $20 trillion after President Donald Trump signed a temporary measure to raise the debt ceiling and keep the government funded through Dec. 8.

He did what?

On Friday, Trump signed into law a bill that keeps the government open for an additional three months, provides emergency aid relief monies for victims of Hurricane Harvey and raises the debt ceiling.

According to the Treasury Department’s daily statement last Friday, the U.S. debt rose to $20.162 trillion after Trump signed the law. Before the signing, the debt was stuck at its statutory limit of $19.84 trillion. That means the debt jumped $317.645 billion in a single day.

The debt had remained at its mandated level since March. The government had been using so-called “extraordinary measures” to keep the debt at its ceiling. Now, the Treasury is able to borrow freely until Dec. 8, at which time the outstanding debt amount will become the new debt ceiling.

A surprise or not?

Because Trump is a Republican, it may have been a surprise to some that he so easily approved the debt ceiling increase. But Trump made it clear on the campaign trail that he wanted to be “unpredictable” when it comes to the debt ceiling.

“OK, I would use the debt limit,” Trump responded. “I don’t want to say — I want to be unpredictable, because, you know, we need unpredictability. Everything is so predictable with our country,” he told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace in October 2015.

However, what many Republicans were stunned by was not Trump’s willingness to allot money for hurricane relief, but his desire to work with Democratic congressional leadership to seal a deal. And that’s exactly what he did.

What it means for you

Each time politicians agree to raise the debt, it means that your share of the debt grows, but even more importantly, it means the next generation — including your children and grandchildren — will be on the hook for billions or trillions more.

But this deal did provide clarity. It showed that Trump is willing to expand government and dig the debt hole deeper. It also showed which Republicans are willing to step up to Trump and oppose him.

That’s because 90 Republicans voted against the measure, according to NPR, and they were the only lawmakers to vote against it.

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