The portion of the federal debt that is subject to a legal limit set by Congress plummeted by $56,758,000,000 on March 15 hitting its lowest level of 2017, according to the Daily Treasury Statement.
On that same day, the federal debt hit its legal limit, according to the same Daily Treasury Statements.
For the 15 days since then, according to the Treasury’s statements, the debt subject to the limit has been frozen at $19,808,747,000,000—approximately $25 million below the new legal limit.
The debt was able to hit its legal limit—even on a day when it was plunging dramatically–because when the Republican Congress and President Barack Obama on Nov. 2, 2015 enacted the most recent legislation lifting the legal limit on the debt they did not actually set a new limit. Instead, they suspended the debt limit, which allowed the federal government to borrow money and run up new debt without any limit at all throughout the election year of 2016.