US debt escalates to 17 trillion dollars

US debt makes history. (Reuters)

US debt makes history. (Reuters)

The debt at the end of business Thursday, after Congress lifted the debt limit, was  $17.075-trillion.

On Wednesday, the debt was $16.7-trillion -  a figure held steady by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew as he used extraordinary measures to keep it under that mandated limit since May.

After weeks of stalemate and a government shutdown, Congress agreed on Wednesday to lift the debt limit until February 7, when the battle will resume again unless Republicans and Democrats come to an agreement before then.

The manoeuvres that Lew had undertaken since May meant there was immediate need to replenish various pension funds and other sources he had borrowed from, explaining the huge jump in the debt. –Sapa-DPA

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