The debt ceiling is a legislative limit on the amount of money that the U.S. government can borrow. This means that the government can't simply print more money to pay its bills. 

When the debt ceiling is reached, the government must take measures, known as extraordinary measures, to prevent default on its financial obligations

Failure to raise the debt ceiling can lead to severe consequences, such as defaulting on payments to bondholders or cutting essential government spending

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The debt ceiling was created in 1917, during World War I. The government was borrowing so much money to finance the war that Congress worried that it would become too indebted

The debt ceiling has been raised 78 times since 1960 to 2021. Congress planning to increase again in May