Jan 20, 2010 4:54 PM by Associated Press
Senate Democrats have proposed permitting the federal government to borrow an additional $1.9 trillion to pay its bills. That would permit the national debt to reach $14.3 trillion.
The unpopular legislation is needed to allow the federal government to issue bonds to fund programs and prevent a first-time default on obligations.
The record increase in the so-called debt limit is required because the budget deficit has spiraled out of control because of the Wall Street bailout, increased spending by the Democratic-controlled Congress and a recession that cut tax revenues.
Congress has never failed to increase the borrowing limit, but it will take 60 votes to pass the legislation under an agreement by top Senate leaders.