US Debt Ceiling
From December 29, 2005: Snow urges Congress to raise debt limit U.S. Treasury Secretary
“The administration now projects that the statutory debt limit, currently $8.184 trillion, will be reached in mid-February 2006,” Snow said in a letter to 21 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate released by Treasury after financial markets had closed.
The debt limit was last raised in November 2004 by $800 billion to its current level. The letter to Congress does not specify an amount the Treasury wants the ceiling set at this time.
US National Debt as of Jan 26, 2006: $8.191 Trillion.
EDIT / CLARIFICATION: The US is not in default. (Vorpal noted this in the comments) Not all of the National Debt counts against the Debt Ceiling and, in addition, the Treasury Secretary can play some accounting games as Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin did in ’96 … from SF Chronicle:
… in his Dec. 29 letter, Snow said that while the debt limit “will be reached in mid-February 2006,” he could delay default for a month using “available prudent and legal actions.”
These actions, MacGuineas said, would include putting IOUs instead of cash into federal retirement accounts — a tactic that Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin first employed in 1996, when Republican lawmakers balked at raising a debt ceiling then at $4.9 trillion.
Back then, some lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives called for Rubin’s impeachment, saying his action usurped the powers of Congress. But in 2002, when the Bush administration was about to hit the $5.95 trillion debt limit it inherited from President Bill Clinton, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill employed Rubin’s tactic to buy time until Congress raised the debt ceiling to $6.4 trillion in June.
I found this amusing, but the US is not in default.
Best to all, CR