Record $14 trillion-plus debt weighs on Congress

By TOM RAUM,Associated Press

POSTED: 01:47 p.m. HST, Jan 15, 2011

WASHINGTON — The United States just passed a dubious milestone: Government debt surged to an all-time high, topping $14 trillion — $45,300 for each and everyone in the country.

That means Congress soon will have to lift the legal debt limit to give the nearly maxed-out government an even higher credit limit or dramatically cut spending to stay within the current cap. Either way, a fight is ahead on Capitol Hill, inflamed by the passions of tea party activists and deficit hawks.

Already, both sides are blaming each other for an approaching economic train wreck as Washington wrestles over how to keep the government in business and avoid default on global financial obligations.

Contributed by By TOM RAUM,Associated Press

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