December 28, 2009 / 9:49 PM / 8 years ago

Obama signs U.S. debt limit increase into law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday signed into law an increase in the U.S. national debt limit to $12.4 trillion, the White House said in a statement.

Congress approved an increase in the debt limit from $12.1 trillion on Thursday, winning two more months of funding for a record U.S. deficit as Obama tries to stimulate economic growth after the country’s worst recession in 70 years.

Critics say Democrat Obama is making the deficit worse, but the White House blames the recession and unfunded cuts in taxes and prescription drug aid, which were all inherited from his Republican predecessor George W. Bush.

The U.S. government posted a record $1.4 trillion deficit in the fiscal year ended September 30 and is on track during the current fiscal year to spend at least $1 trillion more than it collects.

The debt has more than doubled since 2001, thanks to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tax cuts and the recession, which has caused tax revenues to plunge and safety-net spending to rise.

Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Will Dunham

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