The U.S. Congress has approved a $781 billion increase in the legal borrowing limit for the federal government.
A bill authorizing the increase now goes to President Bush for his signature.
The debt ceiling now stands at slightly less than nine trillion dollars. That works out to about $30,000 for every woman, man and child in the country.
It is the fourth time since President Bush took office that the debt ceiling has been raised.
Raising the limit allows Washington to legally borrow the money needed to meet debts that have grown due to recession, war, terror attacks, hurricanes and tax cuts. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would have left officials without the money needed to run the government and pay back bondholders.
The huge U.S. debt measures the total amount of money that the government owes to creditors. The U.S. government deficit is the shortfall that results when Washington spends more than it takes in from taxes.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.