US debt spikes to $17T after debt ceiling lifted

The public debt of the United States has spiked in the wake of the congressional decision to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

The Treasury Department on Friday reported that the public debt stands at $17.076 trillion — that is a jump of $329 billion from $16.747 trillion on Wednesday, the day the ceiling was lifted.

The large jump was caused by the fact that Treasury has been forced to use extraordinary measures such as deferring certain payments to avoid hitting the debt ceiling since May. 

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Under the debt-ceiling deal signed this week, Treasury can borrow what's necessary to meet a commitment that requires payment Feb. 7. At that point it can then use months of extraordinary measures once again to keep the government running if Congress again were to refuse to raise the debt ceiling.

On the day President Obama took office, the debt stood at $10.627 trillion, meaning that $6.5 trillion has been added to the nation's credit card under the current administration.

Republicans were quick to jump on the new debt figures on Friday.

"For the first time in our nation's history, our national debt has topped $17 trillion. This is unacceptable," tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who spearheaded the strategy of using a government shutdown to try to defund ObamaCare.

Obama has acknowledged the nation's long-term fiscal woes and vowed to work with Congress on a budget deal now that the threat of debt default has lifted and the government has re-opened its doors.

— This story was updated at 7:21 p.m.

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