The debt ceiling is the maximum amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow by law. It is set by Congress and has been raised or suspended 78 times since 1960. The debt ceiling does not authorize new spending commitments. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past.
That said, I'm concerned the current debate over raising the debt ceiling sounds like an accounting battle. Federal budget expert Richard Stern explains WHY the fight is important. LISTEN HERE: