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US raises debt ceiling to US$8.2 trillion
Updated: 2004-11-18 15:32

The US Senate Wednesday approved a debt ceiling increase of US$800 billion to nearly US$8.2 trillion, allowing the US government to borrow more money to cover soaring spending.

The decision was made with a vote of 52 to 44 in the Senate. The House of Representatives was expected to vote on it on Thursday.

The US Treasury Department told Congress that it needed a vote on the measure by Thursday to avoid a government default.

Democrats in Congress have decried ballooning debt, which they warned could reach 14.5 trillion dollars in 10 years unless drastic action is taken.

It was the third increase of the US government's debt ceiling since President George Bush took office nearly four years ago. There was a federal surplus of US$237 billion in 2000.

The federal deficit of the US government continued to rise over the past three years and surged to a record high of US$413 billion in fiscal year of 2004 which ended on Sept. 30.

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