The National Debt

May 23, 1944

Report Outline
New boost to statutory debt ceiling
War, Depression, and National Debt
The National Debt and National Income
Conflicts on Postwar Fiscal Policy
Special Focus

New boost to statutory debt ceiling

$240 Billion Vs. $260 Billion Debt Ceiling

The present $210 billion statutory limit on the public debt of the United States would be raised to $240 billion by a bill passed by the House, May 10, and now awaiting action by the Senate. The Fifth War Loan drive, to raise an additional $16 billion for prosecution of the war, will open on June 12, and the public debt is expected to rise to $214 billion by June 30. Because the June 30 total is $4 billion in excess of the present limit, it is imperative that the Senate give its approval to the proposed extension before the summer recess of Congress, now scheduled to begin on June 24.

Government war borrowing, added to the deficit financing of the depression years, is expected to raise the public debt of the United States to a total of $300 billion by the end of World War II. The Treasury asked that the 1944 extension fix the new debt ceiling at $260 billion, instead of the $240 billion approved by the House.

Under Secretary of the Treasury Bell told the Ways and Means Committee that an extension to $240 billion would be sufficient to meet the Treasury's needs until next March 31, but that a further extension would be necessary before June 30, 1945, when the debt would approximate $250 billion. Members of the committee unanimously agreed that it was desirable to leave the question of an extension beyond $240 billion to the new Congress to be elected in November. Democrats said the Congress meeting in 1945 would have a clearer picture of the government's financial needs; Republicans said the public would be given a clear understanding of the dangers involved in a constantly expanding public debt during the 1944 political campaign.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Federal Budget and National Debt
Sep. 01, 2017  National Debt
Jul. 12, 2013  Government Spending
May 15, 2012  State Capitalism
Mar. 18, 2011  National Debt
Nov. 14, 2008  The National Debt
Dec. 09, 2005  Budget Deficit
Apr. 13, 2001  Budget Surplus
Feb. 01, 1991  Recession's Regional Impact
Jan. 20, 1984  Federal Budget Deficit
Sep. 09, 1977  Federal Reorganization and Budget Reform
Nov. 24, 1972  Limits on Federal Spending
Jan. 08, 1969  Federal Budget Making
Dec. 06, 1967  National Debt Management
Aug. 01, 1962  Fiscal and Budget Policy
Nov. 27, 1957  National Debt Limit
Mar. 20, 1957  Spending Controls
Dec. 24, 1953  Public Debt Limit
Feb. 13, 1952  Tax and Debt Limitation
Nov. 30, 1949  Government Spending
Jan. 06, 1948  Legislative Budget-Making
May 23, 1944  The National Debt
Feb. 01, 1943  The Executive Budget and Appropriations by Congress
Dec. 27, 1939  Revision of the Federal Budget System
Oct. 10, 1938  The Outstanding Government Debt
Nov. 20, 1937  Budget Balancing vs. Pump Priming
May 02, 1936  The Deficit and the Public Debt
Oct. 19, 1934  The Federal Budget and the Public Debt
Feb. 10, 1933  Extraordinary Budgeting of Federal Finances
Dec. 01, 1932  Reduction of Federal Expenditures
Dec. 01, 1930  The National Budget System
Oct. 02, 1930  Federal Revenues and Expenditures
Nov. 02, 1927  The Public Debt and Foreign Loans
Nov. 15, 1926  Rising Cost of Government in the United States
Feb. 05, 1925  Four Years Under the Budget System
Deficit, Federal Debt, and Balanced Budget