U.S. national debt has surpassed $30 trillion for the first time as of February 1, according to the Treasury Department. A whopping $7 trillion were added over course of the coronavirus pandemic in the last two years.
The U.S. has seen three Republican and three Democratic administrations since the 1980s, but no matter who is in the White House, U.S. debt has been rising steadily throughout the years, also expanding the debt ceiling in the process.
On December 16, Congress last passed an updated suspension of the debt ceiling after having expanded it to $28.9 trillion in October. The debt ceiling says that the Treasury Department is not allowed to go into debt beyond a certain limit unless explicitly authorized by lawmakers.
Despite Democrats and Republicans equally expanding debt while in office, the necessary raising of the debt ceiling is routinely causing a fair share of debate - often stretching until the last minute of the country's solvency.
In early 2018 and again in late 2018 and early 2019, the fight about the debt ceiling was not resolved on time, leading to two government shutdowns. Controversies around the DACA act and the border wall caused federal government agencies to largely shut down for three and 35 days, respectively, as Democrats jilted attempts to expand the debt limit. In 2013, the government shut down for 16 days as Republicans were the ones who did not want to support such a measure as money would flow towards the Affordable Care Act.