From: Reuters
Published March 14, 2008 02:53 PM

House seeks debt limit increase to $10.2 trillion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The government's debt limit would be raised to $10.2 trillion under a budget plan for next year approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The House's fiscal 2009 budget, which passed on Thursday, would increase U.S. borrowing authority by $385 billion from the current limit of $9.815 trillion, according to the House Budget Committee.

The Senate on Friday passed its own version of a fiscal 2009 budget that did not address the question of raising federal borrowing authority.

The two chambers in coming weeks are expected to try to work out their differences and then pass a budget for next year that would spend $3 trillion while projecting a deficit in the range of $340 billion to $366 billion for the year.

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It is not clear whether negotiators will adjust the House's proposed $10.2 trillion debt limit.

Large annual deficits have caused the federal debt to climb steeply since President George W. Bush took office, rising from $5.6 trillion in January, 2001, to $9.3 trillion on Wednesday.

Congress last approved an increase in Washington's borrowing authority last September, increasing the credit limit by $850 billion.

Some lawmakers recently have estimated that the Treasury Department could bump up against the current $9.815 trillion limit either shortly after November presidential and congressional elections or early next year, depending on revenues and economic performance.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan)

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