Americans Support Raising Debt Ceiling and Minimum Wage: Poll Finds

The U.S. Department of the Treasury explains the debt limit or debt ceiling as the maximum sum of money the federal government is allowed to borrow in order to fulfill its current responsibilities, such as Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.[0] With the debt limit set at $31.4 trillion, the Treasury Department has resorted to “extraordinary measures” to allow the government to continue borrowing money to meet its obligations.

The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds that 52 percent of registered voters support raising the debt ceiling, while 46 percent oppose it.[1] Fifty percent of those surveyed indicated that they were in favor of reducing programs and services, while nearly the same amount (46%) preferred to have taxes and fees increased.[2] Seven in 10 respondents said politicians should compromise to find solutions, while only 28 percent said they should stand on principle.[2]

A majority of respondents also support raising the current minimum wage — which sits at only $7.25 an hour and hasn't been raised since 2009 — to $15 an hour.[2]

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”[3]

If Congress does not extend the debt limit, the Treasury would have to resort to “extraordinary measures” to meet its obligations. Canceling certain expenditures and using all of its current funds may be necessary.[4] If the government has agreed to introduce new public initiatives, not increasing the debt limit will prevent them from being able to finance these initiatives, unless they reduce spending on existing programs.[4]

Jay Powell and Shai Akabas have warned that “Beyond the X Date is a grave unknown. We've never been there before in the modern history of our country, and we just don't know what some of the reactions to that action would be.”[5] If Congress does not act before this timeframe, it would constitute a default, leading to borrowing at higher rates in the future and certain parts of the government must shut down.[6]

0. “How Can A Trillion Dollar Coin Raise the Debt Ceiling?” AOL, 17 Feb. 2023,

1. “Americans are split on whether US should raise debt ceiling to avoid default: poll” msnNOW, 24 Feb. 2023,

2. “Americans want Congress to deal with the debt ceiling. How to do it is complicated” MPR News, 23 Feb. 2023,

3. “Would a $1 Trillion Coin Fix Debt Ceiling? Yes and No, Experts Say” The Epoch Times, 21 Feb. 2023,

4. “URI prof: Failure to raise debt limit courts fiscal crisis” The Westerly Sun, 21 Feb. 2023,

5. “When is the deadline for Congress to come up with a solution on the debt limit?” KALW, 20 Feb. 2023,

6. “Politics, Deficits, And The Debt Limit” Seeking Alpha, 20 Feb. 2023,

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