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The nation’s old debt ceiling – about $17 trillion – meant that at that point, the government’s authorization to borrow more money to make payments, spend on frivolities or just give away, expired.
But totally absent from reporting Thursday – after Congress “raised” the debt ceiling through early next year – was a dollar amount.
The Wall Street Journal simply confirmed that the new law signed by President Obama overnight “permits the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7, and preserves Treasury’s emergency flexibility to avoid default for a period of time after that date.”
At a minimum, that means another $400 billion or $500 billion in debt for American taxpayers, as the nation has been spending roughly $3.6 or $3.7 trillion a year, and taking in only $2.5 trillion.
But such numbers were nowhere to be found. The Chicago Tribune simply said Obama now has permission for “borrowing to continue through Feb. 7.”
The New York Times confirmed Congress raised “the debt limit through Feb. 7.”
Fox News called it “a virtually condition-free increase in the debt ceiling,” but also lacked a number.
“The … bill will fund the government through Jan. 15, and raise the debt cap through Feb. 7.”
Daily Caller Political Reporter Alex Pappas, however, explained – that the actual borrowing limit wasn’t changed, Congress just canceled its enforcement.
“That means Americans have no idea how much debt their government is going to rack up between now and Feb. 7,” he wrote. “There is no dollar amount set for how much debt the government can accumulate between now and then.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the legislation also restores funding for the federal government, which reopened on Thursday, through Jan. 15. Employees will get paid for days they were furloughed.
It also calls for House and Senate negotiators to try to agree on a new budget, the last of which was adopted about the time Obama was elected, by mid-December.
There were no major changes to the massive and expensive Obamacare.
And there was no provision for federal agencies to have more flexibility to earlier adopted spending limits called “sequester.”
The Hill noted there were some urgent projects also tucked into the emergency bill, such as a payment of $174,000 to the widow of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who died a millionaire in June.
Also, there was $3.1 million for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which is supposed to ensure privacy concerns are addressed.
And the bill allows the Department of Transportation to spend $450 million to repair Colorado roads washed away by a flood a month ago, and it gives the District of Columbia the right to spend all of its local funds for the rest of fiscal 2014 – so that it has cash on hand if there’s another shutdown later in the fiscal year.