The national debt hit a new milestone Monday, topping $33 trillion for the first time, according to data published by the Treasury Department.
The record amount reflects the size of the gross national debt, which includes all financial liabilities of the federal government. A separate measure of debt held by the public, which excludes debt the government owes itself, stands at roughly $26 trillion.
The numbers highlight just how rapidly the debt is growing. In June, lawmakers battled over raising the debt limit, which then stood at $31.4 trillion. The debt quickly jumped to $32 trillion, then to $33 trillion in just a few months. According to some projections, the debt is on track to top $50 trillion by the end of the decade.
Speaking on CNBC Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that while interest costs on the existing debt remain manageable, policymakers should take steps to modify the current path. “The president has proposed a series of measures that would reduce our deficits over time while investing in the economy,” she said, “and this is something we need to do going forward.”