Votes on Measures to Adjust the Statutory Debt Limit, 1978 to Present

Almost all borrowing by the federal government is conducted by the Treasury Department, within the restrictions established by a single, statutory limit (ceiling) on the total amount of debt that may be outstanding at any time. By law, the Treasury cannot exceed federal debt limits, so the Treasury periodically has had to ask Congress to enact new debt limits so it can fulfill its financial commitments. Since 1978, 57 measures adjusting or suspending the statutory debt limit either as stand-alone legislation or as part of legislation dealing with other matters have been enacted into law.

This report provides roll call vote data identified by the Congressional Research Service for measures to adjust the statutory debt limit. This report will be updated as events warrant.

Votes on Measures to Adjust the Statutory Debt Limit, 1978 to Present

November 6, 2017 (R41814)
Jump to Main Text of Report

Summary

Almost all borrowing by the federal government is conducted by the Treasury Department, within the restrictions established by a single, statutory limit (ceiling) on the total amount of debt that may be outstanding at any time. By law, the Treasury cannot exceed federal debt limits, so the Treasury periodically has had to ask Congress to enact new debt limits so it can fulfill its financial commitments. Since 1978, 57 measures adjusting or suspending the statutory debt limit either as stand-alone legislation or as part of legislation dealing with other matters have been enacted into law.

This report provides roll call vote data identified by the Congressional Research Service for measures to adjust the statutory debt limit. This report will be updated as events warrant.


Votes on Measures to Adjust the Statutory Debt Limit, 1978 to Present

Introduction

Almost all borrowing by the federal government is conducted by the Treasury Department, within the restrictions established by a single, statutory limit (ceiling) on the total amount of debt that may be outstanding at any time. By law, the Treasury cannot exceed federal debt limits, so the Treasury periodically has had to ask Congress to enact new debt limits so it can fulfill its financial commitments. Since 1978, 57 measures adjusting or suspending the statutory debt limit either as stand-alone legislation or as part of legislation dealing with other matters have been enacted into law.1

During the 115th Congress, on March 15, 2017, a previously enacted debt limit suspension period expired. Prior to this expiration, in a letter to congressional leaders on March 8, 2017, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin wrote that,

Beginning on Thursday, March 16, 2017, the outstanding debt of the United States will be at the statutory limit. At that time, Treasury anticipates that it will need to start taking certain extraordinary measures in order to temporarily prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations.2

These extraordinary measures were used until September 8, 2017, when President Trump signed P.L. 115-56, a measure that included a debt limit suspension through December 8, 2017.

This report provides tallies of votes on final passage for each enacted measure that adjusted or suspended the statutory debt limit from 1978 to present. Note that because the process for congressional consideration of bills can be complex, attempting to interpret the intent of votes prior to the final vote on passage of a measure may yield various, and sometimes conflicting, interpretations. For the sake of clarity, this report only provides vote information on the final passage of each measure.3

Debt Limit Votes: 1978 to Present

In addition to information on debt limit legislation and votes on final passage in the House and Senate, other data elements identified in the tables below include bill numbers; roll call votes, voice votes, or passage by unanimous consent; dates of final passage and vote tally information; dates of enactment and public law numbers for the enacted laws; and brief background information on whether the measures were considered as stand-alone measures (i.e., dealing entirely with just a change to the federal debt limit and not including provisions on other matters).

Table 1 provides information on all enacted measures to adjust or suspend the federal debt limit from 1978 to 2017, including data on the specific changes to the federal debt limit set at the time of enactment. The bill number and public law columns of the table provide links to Congress.gov bill summary and status information for each measure. Roll call votes on final enactment can be extracted through the actions tab for each measure within Congress.gov back to 1993.4 Also, Table 1 contains cross-references to the notes columns in Table 2 and Table 3. The notes columns in those tables provide additional details on how each measure was considered.

Table 2 identifies stand-alone measures from the period. Table 3 identifies bills considered as other than stand-alone measures5 and provides brief background information on the nature of each measure and by what means the measures were considered.

Table 1. Roll Call Votes on Enacted Measures to Adjust the Federal Debt Limit

(1978 to 2017)

Year

Bill Number

Final House & Senate Vote Tally & Date of Votes

Public Law Number & Date of Enactment

Debt Limit Amount
($ in billions)

Temporary Provisions Expiration Date

 

 

House

Senate

 

 

 

1978

H.R. 11518

233-172 3/21/1978

Voice Vote 3/22/1978

P.L. 95-252 3/27/1978

$752.0

8/01/1978

 

H.R. 13385

205-202 7/19/1978

62-31 8/02/1978

P.L. 95-333 8/03/1978

$798

3/31/1979

1979

H.R. 2534

209-165 (H.Res. 183, 4/2/1979) (See notes column in Table 3)

62-33 3/27/1979

P.L. 96-5 4/02/1979

$830

9/30/1979

 

H.R. 5369

219-198 9/26/1979

49-29 9/28/1979

P.L. 96-78
9/29/1979

$879

5/31/1980

1980

H.R. 7471

Voice Vote 5/30/1980

47-10 5/30/1980

P.L. 96-256 5/30/1980

same

6/5/1980

 

H.R. 7428

335-34 6/05/1980

68-10 6/06/1980

P.L. 96-264 6/06/1980

same

6/30/1980

 

H.J.Res. 569

6/13/1980 (See notes column in Table 2)

54-39 6/28/1980

P.L. 96-286 6/28/1980

$925

2/28/1981

 

H.J.Res. 570

6/13/1980 (See notes column in Table 2)

Voice Vote 12/12/1981

P.L. 96-556 12/19/1980

$935.1

None

1981

H.R. 1553

305-104 2/05/1981

73-18 2/06/1981

P.L. 97-2 2/07/1981

$985

9/30/1981

 

H.J.Res. 266

5/21/1981 (See notes column in Table 2)

Voice Vote 9/29/1981

P.L. 97-48 9/30/1981

$999.8

9/30/1981

 

H.J.Res. 265

5/21/1981 (See notes column in Table 2)

64-34 09/29/1981

P.L. 97-49 9/30/1981

$1,079.8

9/28/1981

1982

H.J.Res. 519

6/23/1982 (See notes column in Table 2)

49-41 6/23/1982

P.L. 97-204 6/28/1982

$1,143.1

9/30/1982

 

H.J.Res. 520

6/23/1982 (See notes column in Table 2)

50-41 9/23/1982

P.L. 97-270 9/30/1982

$1,290.2

9/30/1983

1983

H.R. 2990

Voice Vote 5/18/1983

51-41 5/25/1983

P.L. 98-34 5/26/1983

$1,389

None

 

H.J.Res. 308

214-186 11/18/1983

Voice Vote 11/17/1983

P.L. 98-161 11/21/1983

$1,490

None

1984

H.R. 5692

211-198 5/24/1984

Voice Vote 5/24/1984

P.L. 98-302 5/25/1984

$1,520

None

 

H.R. 5953

208-202 6/29/1984

Voice Vote 6/29/1984

P.L. 98-342 7/06/1984

$1,573

None

 

H.J.Res. 654

Unanimous Consent 10/01/1984

37-30 10/12/1984

P.L. 98-475 10/13/1984

$1,823.8

None

1985

H.R. 3721

300-121 11/13/1985

Voice Vote 11/13/1985

P.L. 99-155 11/14/1985

$1,903.8

12/06/1985

 

H.J.Res. 372

271-154 12/11/1985

61-31 12/11/1985

P.L. 99-177 12/12/1985

$2,078.7

None

1986

H.R. 5395

216-199 8/14/1986

36-35 8/15/1986

P.L. 99-384 8/21/1986

$2,111

None

 

H.R. 5300

305-70 10/17/1986

61-25 10/17/1986

P.L. 99-509 10/21/1986

$2,300

5/15/1987

1987

H.R. 2360

296-124 5/13/1987

58-36 5/14/1987

P.L. 100-40 5/15/1987

$2,320

7/17/1987

 

H.R. 3022

263-155 7/29/1987

Voice Vote 7/29/1987

P.L. 100-80 7/30/1987

same

8/06/1987

 

H.R. 3190

Voice Vote 8/07/1987

51-39 8/07/1987

P.L. 100-84 8/10/1987

$2,352

9/23/1987

 

H.J.Res. 324

230-176 9/22/1987

64-34 9/23/1987

P.L. 100-119 9/29/1987

$2,800

None

1989

H.R. 3024

231-185 8/01/1989

Voice Vote 8/04/1989

P.L. 101-72 8/07/1989

$2,870

10/31/1989

 

H.J.Res. 280

11/07/1989 269-99

Voice Vote 11/07/1989

P.L. 101-140 11/08/1989

$3,122.7

None

1990

H.R. 5350

247-172 8/03/1990

Voice Vote 8/03/1990

P.L. 101-350 8/09/1990

$3,195

10/02/1990

 

H.R. 5755

Voice Vote 9/30/1990

Unanimous Consent 09/30/1990

P.L. 101-405 10/02/1990

same

10/06/1990

 

H.J.Res. 666

362-3 10/09/1990

Voice Vote 10/08/1990

P.L. 101-412 10/09/1990

same

10/09/1990

 

H.J.Res. 677

379-37 10/18/1990

Voice Vote 10/19/1990

P.L. 101-444 10/19/1990

same

10/24/1990

 

H.J.Res. 681

380-45 10/24/1990

Unanimous Consent 10/24/1990

P.L. 101-461 10/25/1990

same

10/27/1990

 

H.J.Res. 687

283-49 10/27/1990

Voice Vote 10/27/1990

P.L. 101-467 10/28/1990

$3,230

11/05/1990

 

H.R. 5835

228-200 10/26/1990

54-45 10/27/1990

P.L. 101-508 11/05/1990

$4,145

None

1993

H.R. 1430

237-177 4/02/1993

Unanimous Consent 4/05/1993

P.L. 103-12 4/06/1993

$4,370

09/30/1993

 

H.R. 2264

218-216 8/05/1993

51-50 8/06/1993

P.L. 103-66 8/10/1993

$4,900

None

1996

H.R. 2924

396-0 2/01/1996

Unanimous Consent 2/01/1996

P.L. 104-103 02/08/1996

(See notes column in Table 3)

03/15/1990

 

H.R. 3021

362-51 3/07/1996

Voice Vote 3/07/1996

P.L. 104-115 3/12/1996

(See notes column in Table 3)

3/30/1990

 

H.R. 3136

328-91 3/28/1996

Unanimous Consent 3/28/1996

P.L. 104-121 3/29/1996

$5,500

None

1997

H.R. 2015

346-85 07/30/1997

85-15 7/31/1997

P.L. 105-33 8/05/1997

$5,950

None

2002

S. 2578

215-214-1 6/27/2002

68-29 6/11/2002

P.L. 107-199 6/28/2002

$6,400

None

2003

H.J.Res. 51

216-211
H.Con.Res. 95
04/11/2003 (See notes column Table 2)

53-44 5/23/2003

P.L. 108-24 5/27/2003

$7,384

None

2004

S. 2986

208-204 11/18/2004

52-44 11/17/2004

P.L. 108-415 11/19/2004

$8,184

None

2005

H.J.Res. 47

4/28/2005 (See notes column in Table 2)

52-48 3/16/2005

P.L. 109-182 3/20/2006

$8,965

None

2007

H.J.Res. 43

5/17/2007 (See notes column in Table 2)

53-42 9/27/2007

P.L. 110-91 9/29/2007

$9,815

None

2008

H.R. 3221

272-152 7/23/2008

72-13 7/26/2008

P.L. 110-289 7/30/2008

$10,615

None

 

H.R. 1424

263-171 10/03/2008

74-25 10/1/2008

P.L. 110-343 10/3/2008

$11,315

None

2009

H.R. 1

246-183-1 2/13/2009

60-38 2/13/2009

P.L. 111-5 2/17/2009

$12,104

None

 

H.R. 4314

218-214 12/16/2009

60-39 12/24/2009

P.L. 111-123
12/28/2009

$12,394

None

2010

H.J.Res. 45

233-187 2/04/2010

60-39 1/28/2010

P.L. 111-139
2/12/2010

$14,294

None

2011

S. 365

269-161 8/01/2011

74-26 8/02/2011

P.L. 112-25
8/02/2011a

$16,394

None

2013

H.R. 325

285-144 01/23/2013

64-34 1/31/2013

P.L. 113-3 02/4/2013

(See notes column in Table 3)

5/18/2013

2013

H.R. 2775

285-144 10/16/2013

81-18 10/16/2013

P.L. 113-46 10/17/2013

(See notes column in Table 3)

2/07/2014

2014

S. 540

221-201 2/11/2014

55-43 2/12/2014

P.L. 113-83 2/15/2014

(See notes column in Table 2)

3/15/2015

2015

H.R. 1314

266-167 10/29/2015

65-35 10/30/2015

P.L. 114-74 11/02/2015

(See notes column in Table 3)

3/15/2017

2017

H.R. 601

316-90 9/08/2017

80-17 9/07/2017

P.L. 115-56 9/08/2017

(See notes column in Table 3)

12/08/2017

Sources: The LIS available at http://www.congress.gov, Annual Congressional Quarterly Almanac volumes, CRS Report RL31967, The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases, by [author name scrubbed]; and archived CRS Report 97-297, Debt Limit Increases, 1978 to 1996: Fact Sheet and Uses of the Debt Limit for Other Legislation. Enacted levels of Statutory Debt Limit were obtained from the FY2012 Budget Historical Tables volume, Table 7.3.

Notes: For more information on temporary and permanent increases, see Table 7.3 of the FY2012 Budget Historical Tables. Measures in Table 1 are organized by year of initial consideration of each measure.

a. P.L. 112-25, the Budget Control Act (BCA), included provisions allowing the debt limit to rise in three stages—up to $2.4 trillion—following certification by the President that the debt balance was within $100 billion of the current limit. The debt limit as of January 28, 2012, was $16.4 trillion. This $16.4 trillion figure included incremental increases of $400 billion (August 2, 2011), $500 billion (September 22, 2011), and $1.2 trillion (January 28, 2012). More information on stipulations for debt-limit increases included within P.L. 112-25 appears in CRS Report RL31967, The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases, by [author name scrubbed].

Table 2. Stand-Alone Debt Limit Measures

(1978-2014)

Year of Enactment

Bill Number

Public Law Number & Date of Enactment

Descriptive Notes on
the Measure

1978

H.R. 11518

P.L. 95-252
3/27/1978

None

 

H.R. 13385

P.L. 95-333
8/03/1978

None

1980

H.R. 7471

P.L. 96-256
6/06/1980

None

 

H.J.Res. 569

P.L. 96-286
6/28/1980

On June 13, 1980, the day after Congress completed action on the FY1981 Budget Resolution, H.Con.Res. 307, its projected debt increase was incorporated into H.J.Res. 569, which was then deemed to have been passed by the House. The measure was enacted as P.L. 96-286 and included a temporary extension of the debt limit from June 30, 1980, to February 28, 1981.

 

H.J.Res 570

P.L. 96-556
12/19/1980

A debt limit increase was incorporated in H.Con.Res. 307, the FY1981 Budget Resolution passed by the House on June 12, 1980, by a vote of 205-195. H.J.Res 570 was enacted as P.L. 96-556. The enacted measure included a temporary extension of the debt limit from February 28, 1981, to September 30, 1981.

1981

H.R. 1553

P.L. 97-2
2/07/1981

None

 

H.J.Res 266

P.L. 97-48
9/30/1981

H.J.Res 266 was engrossed and deemed passed by the House on May 21, 1981. After passing the Senate, H.J.Res 266 was enacted as P.L. 97-48 on September 30, 1981. The measure raised the temporary debt limit without altering its September 30, 1981, expiration date.

 

H.J.Res 265

P.L. 97-49
9/30/1981

A debt limit figure from H.Con.Res. 307, the FY1981 Budget Resolution, was incorporated into H.J.Res 265 without a vote. P.L. 97-49 as enacted extended the temporary limit from September 30, 1981, to September 30, 1982.

1982

H.J.Res 519

P.L. 97-204
6/28/1982

S.Con.Res. 92, the FY1983 Budget Resolution, automatically incorporated respective debt limit increases in H.J.Res 519 and H.J.Res 520. Both measures were engrossed by the House on June 23, 1982. H.J.Res 520 also extended the temporary debt limit from September 30, 1982, to September 30, 1983.

 

H.J.Res 520

P.L. 97-270
9/30/1982

See notes above on H.J.Res 519.

1983

H.J.Res 308

P.L. 98-161
11/21/1983

None

1984

H.R. 5953

P.L. 98-342
7/6/1984

None

 

H.J.Res 654

P.L. 98-475
10/13/1984

None

1986

H.R. 5953

P.L. 99-384
8/21/1986

None

1987

H.R. 2360

P.L. 100-40
5/15/1987

None

 

H.R. 3022

P.L. 100-80
7/30/1987

None

 

H.R. 3190

P.L. 100-84
8/10/1987

None

1990

H.R. 5350

P.L. 101-350
8/09/1990

None

 

H.R. 5755

P.L. 101-405
10/02/1990

None

1993

H.R. 1430

P.L. 103-12
4/06/1993

None

2002

S. 2578

P.L. 107-199
6/28/2002

The House roll call votes on P.L. 107-199 included one Member voting "present."

2003

H.J.Res 51

P.L. 108-24
5/27/2003

On April 11, 2003, pursuant to Rule XXVII, H.J.Res 51 was deemed to have passed the House as a result of the adoption by the House and the Senate of the conference report for H.Con.Res. 95, the FY2004 Budget Resolution.

2004

S. 2986

P.L. 108-415
11/19/2004

None

2006

H.J.Res 47

P.L. 109-182
3/20/2006

H.J.Res 47 (P.L. 109-182) was passed pursuant to Rule XXVII and H.Con.Res. 95, the FY2006 Budget Resolution.

2007

H.J.Res 43

P.L. 110-91
9/29/2007

H.J.Res 43 (P.L. 110-91) was passed by the House pursuant to provisions in S.Con.Res. 21, the FY2008 Budget Resolution.

2009

H.R. 4314

P.L. 111-123
12/28/2009

None

2014

S. 540

P.L. 113-83
2/15/2014

P.L. 113-83, the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act, suspended the federal debt limit through March 15, 2015.

Sources: Congress.gov; Annual Congressional Quarterly Almanac volumes; CRS Report RL31967, The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases, by [author name scrubbed]; and archived CRS Report 97-297, Debt Limit Increases, 1978 to 1996: Fact Sheet and Uses of the Debt Limit for Other Legislation.

Notes: Vote tally, enacted debt limit amounts, and other data are available in Table 1. Measures in Table 2 are organized by year of enactment.

Table 3. Other Than Stand-Alone Debt Limit Measures

(1979-2017)

Year of Enactment

Bill Number

Public Law Number & Date of Enactment

Type of Measure

Notes on the Measure

1979

H.R. 2534

P.L. 96-5
4/02/1979

Change to debt limit included as provision within measure on other matters.

P.L. 96-5 included an increase in savings bonds yields and required Congress and the President to present budgets that would be in balance for FY1981 and FY1982. See also H.Res. 183, a resolution concurring in amendments to H.R. 2534 as passed by the Senate. H.Res. 183 was passed by the House on April 2, 1979, by a vote of 209-165 (House Roll Vote #133).

 

H.R. 5369

P.L. 96-78
9/29/1979

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

P.L. 96-78 included an increase in the amount of long-term bonds that could be outstanding and established House Rule 49 making the increase in the debt limit part of the budget process (in the House).

1980

H.R. 7428

P.L. 96-264
6/06/1980

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

P.L. 96-264 included a repeal of the presidentially imposed oil import fee under Section 232(b) of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, 19 U.S.C. 18629(b). This legislation was passed over a presidential veto.

1983

H.R. 2990

P.L. 98-34
5/26/1983

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

P.L. 98-34 included making the whole debt limit permanent and increasing the amount of long-term bonds that could be issued.

1984

H.R. 5692

P.L. 98-302
5/25/1984

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

P.L. 98-302 included an increase in the amount of long-term bonds that could be issued and provided some miscellaneous administrative authority to the Secretary of the Treasury.

1985

H.R. 3721

P.L. 99-155
11/14/1985

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

P.L. 99-155 included a requirement to restore Social Security Trust Funds and to extend for a month a number of expiring acts, including a cigarette tax.

 

H.J.Res 372

P.L. 99-177
12/12/1985

Change in debt limit included as part of Balanced Budget and Deficit Reduction measure.

H.J.Res 372, enacted as P.L. 99-177, was also a vehicle for the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Reduction Act of 1985. The legislation also required the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee to report by July 1, 1986, legislation for alternative minimum corporate tax.

1986

H.R. 5300

P.L. 99-509
10/21/1986

Change to debt limit included in Budget Reconciliation measure.

P.L. 99-509, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, included a debt limit increase to Section 8201 of Title VII of the act. Section 8201 also required the restoration of lost interest to certain trust funds.

1987

H.J.Res 324

P.L. 100-119
9/29/1987

Change in debt limit included as part of a Balanced Budget and Deficit Reduction measure.

H.J.Res 324 was also used as the legislative vehicle for the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control and Reaffirmation Act of 1987.

1989

H.R. 3024

P.L. 101-72
8/07/1989

Change to debt limit within measure on other matters.

P.L. 101-72 included a change in the method of accounting for federal debt instruments.

 

H.J.Res 280

P.L. 101-140
11/08/1989

Change in debt limit included within measure on other matters.

Pursuant to the provisions of H.Con.Res. 106, the FY1990 Budget Resolution, H.J.Res 280, was considered passed by the House on May 17, 1989. The House vote on the conference report for H.Con.Res. 106 was 241-185. P.L. 101-140 included a repeal of Section 89 nondiscrimination, rules that dealt with employee benefit plans.

1990

H.J.Res 666

P.L. 101-412
10/09/1990

Change in debt limit included within measure on other matters.

H.J.Res 666 was a continuing appropriations measure that included a debt limit extension. The House initially passed the measure by a vote of 305-105 on October 7, 1990. The Senate took up the measure and then passed it by unanimous consent. The House then passed the Senate amended measure on October 9, 1990, by a vote of 362-3. The measure passed the Senate by unanimous consent on October 8, 1990, and was enacted as P.L. 101-412 on October 9, 1990

 

H.J.Res 677

P.L. 101-444
10/19/1990

Change in debt limit included in a continuing resolution.

None

 

H.J.Res 681

P.L. 101-461
10/25/1990

Change in debt limit included in a continuing resolution.

None

 

H.J.Res 687

P.L. 101-467
10/28/1990

Change in debt limit included in a continuing resolution.

None

 

H.R. 5835

P.L. 101-508
11/05/1990

Change to debt limit included in Budget Reconciliation measure.

A debt limit increase was included in Section 11901 of Title XI of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, P.L. 101-508.

1993

H.R. 2264

P.L. 103-66
8/10/1993

Change to debt limit included in Budget Reconciliation measure.

A debt limit increase was included in Section 13411 of Title XIII of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, P.L. 103-66.

1996

H.R. 2924

P.L. 104-103
2/08/1996

Addressed parameters and temporary exemptions of certain Social Security related funds from the debt limit.

P.L. 104-103 temporarily exempted from limit obligations in an amount equal to the monthly insurance benefits payable under Title II of the Social Security Act in March 1996. The exemption was set to expire in the event of an increase in the debt limit or by March 15, 1996.

 

H.R. 3021

P.L. 104-115
3/12/1996

Addressed parameters and temporary exemptions of certain Social Security related funds from the debt limit.

P.L. 104-115 temporarily exempted from limit obligations in an amount equal to the monthly insurance benefits payable under Title II of the Social Security Act in March 1996 and certain obligations issued to trust funds and other federal government accounts. The exemption was set to expire on the earlier of an increase in the limit or by March 30, 1996.

 

H.R. 3136

P.L. 104-121
3/29/1996

Change to debt limit within measure on other matters.

P.L. 104-121, the Contract with America Advancement Act, included an increase in the debt limit in Title III.

1997

H.R. 2015

P.L. 105-33
8/05/1997

Change to the debt limit included in Balanced Budget measure.

P.L. 105-33, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, included a debt limit increase in Title V, Subtitle G.

2008

H.R. 3221

P.L. 110-289
7/30/2008

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

H.R. 3221 (P.L. 110-289), the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, included an increase to the debt limit.

2008

H.R. 1424

P.L. 110-343
10/03/2008

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

H.R. 1424 (P.L. 110-343), the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, included an increase to the debt limit.

2009

H.R. 1

P.L. 111-5
2/17/2009

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

H.R. 1 (P.L. 111-5), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, included an increase to the debt limit.

2010

H.J.Res 45

P.L. 111-139
2/12/2010

Change to debt limit included within measure on other matters.

During final consideration of H.J.Res 45, the House took up a portion of the bill passed by the Senate with an amendment that included an increase to the debt limit and passed this portion of the measure on February 4, 2010. The bill also included provisions related to "Statutory PAYGO," and elimination of "duplicative and wasteful spending."

2011

S. 365

P.L. 112-25
8/02/2011

Change to debt limit included within measure addressing deficit reduction.

Final legislation was in the form of a House amendment in the nature of a substitute to a previously unrelated Senate bill. The Budget Control Act of 2011 as enacted includes provisions aimed at deficit reduction and an increase of up to $2.4 trillion that would occur in several stages.

2013

H.R. 325

P.L. 113-3
02/04/2013

Suspended the federal debt limit temporarily. Other matters within the measure address the annual budget resolution.

P.L. 113-3 temporarily suspended the statutory federal debt limit through May 18, 2013, and allowed the federal government to continue to borrow beyond the $16,394 billion limit set under provisions within P.L. 112-25, the Budget Control Act of 2011. Additional provisions required House and Senate payroll administrators to hold all Member salary compensation if by April 15, 2013, that chamber had not agreed to a concurrent budget resolution for FY2014.

The Treasury Department reset the debt limit at $16,699 billion once the debt limit suspension period lapsed.

 

H.R. 2775

P.L. 113-46
10/17/2013

Suspended the federal debt limit temporarily. Provisions included in Division B of the FY2014 Continuing Resolution Act.

Division B of P.L. 113-46 temporarily suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014. On October 17, 2013, as part of P.L. 113-46, a measure providing continuing appropriations for FY2014, the debt limit was suspended again until February 7, 2014.

2015

H.R. 1314

P.L. 114-74 11/02/2015

Suspension of the debt limit included within measure addressing deficit reduction.

P.L. 114-74 temporarily suspended the debt limit through March 15, 2017. The measure also amended certain budget enforcement provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25).

2017

H.R. 601

P.L. 115-56 9/08/2017

Suspension of the debt limit included in an FY2018 continuing appropriations resolution and an FY2017 disaster relief supplemental appropriations measure.

Division C of P.L. 115-56 temporarily suspended the debt limit through December 8, 2017.

Sources: Congress.gov; Annual Congressional Quarterly Almanac volumes, CRS Report RL31967, The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases, by [author name scrubbed], and archived CRS Report 97-297, Debt Limit Increases, 1978 to 1996: Fact Sheet and Uses of the Debt Limit for Other Legislation.

Notes: Vote tally, enacted debt limit amounts, and other data are available in Table 1. Measures in Table 3 are organized by year of enactment.

Selected CRS Reports and Resources

CRS Report R44874, The Budget Control Act: Frequently Asked Questions, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed]

CRS Report R41965, The Budget Control Act of 2011, by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed]

CRS Report RL31967, The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report R43389, The Debt Limit Since 2011, by [author name scrubbed].

CRS Report RS21519, Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit: A Brief Overview, by [author name scrubbed]

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Senior Research Librarian ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Footnotes

1.

See also CRS Report R43389, The Debt Limit Since 2011, by [author name scrubbed]; and CRS Report RL31967, The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases, by [author name scrubbed].

2.

The text of Secretary Mnuchin's letter is available on the Department of Treasury website at https://www.treasury.gov/initiatives/Documents/DL_SLGS_20170308_Ryan.pdf. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that those measures could meet federal obligations until sometime in the fall of 2017. See CBO, The Federal Statutory Limit, March 2017, March 7, 2017, available at https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52465-federaldebtlimit.pdf. For more information on recent history of the federal debt limit including the employment of extraordinary measures by the Treasury Department, see CRS Report R43389, The Debt Limit Since 2011, by [author name scrubbed].

3.

More detailed information on methods employed by Congress to adjust the statutory debt limit appear in CRS Report RS21519, Legislative Procedures for Adjusting the Public Debt Limit: A Brief Overview, by [author name scrubbed]

4.

Complete House and Senate roll call vote information is available in Congress.gov back to1993. Bill number and public law links in Table 1 connect to bill summary and status information for all measures back to 1978. For the measures listed from 1993 to the present, Member roll call votes can be extracted from the Congress.gov bill summary and status display by clicking on the actions tab and online links provided to the House and Senate roll call information.

5.

Table 3 provides brief background information on whether measures were considered as other than stand-alone bills, either containing a change to the debt limit as part of a measure dealing with other matters (including omnibus or consolidated measures or part of continuing resolutions) or pursuant to House rules or budget resolution and budget reconciliation activities.