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2015 Financial Report of the United States Government


Notes to the Financial Statements

Note 11. Federal Debt Securities Held by the Public and Accrued Interest

Federal Debt Securities Held by the Public and Accrued Interest
(In billions of dollars)
Balance
September 30,
2014
Net
Change
During
Fiscal
Year
2015
Balance
September 30,
2015
Average Interest
Rate
2015
2014
Treasury securities (public):
Marketable securities:
  Treasury bills 1,409.6 (54.4) 1,355.2 0.1% 0.1%
  Treasury notes 8,160.2 205.8 8,366.0 1.8% 1.8%
  Treasury bonds 1,534.1 154.1 1,688.2 4.7% 4.9%
  Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) 1,044.7 90.7 1,135.4 0.8% 0.9%
  Treasury floating rate notes (FRN) 123.0 164.1 287.1 0.1% 0.1%
Total marketable Treasury securities 12,271.6 560.3 12,831.9    
Nonmarketable securities 513.4 (221.4) 292.0 2.5% 2.3%
  Net unamortized premiums/(discounts) (29.4) (2.0) (31.4)    
Total Treasury securities, net (public) 12,755.6 336.9 13,092.5    
Agency securities:
  Tennessee Valley Authority 23.6 0.1 23.7    
  All other agencies 0.2 - 0.2    
Total agency securities, net of
unamortized premiums and discounts
23.8 0.1 23.9    
Accrued interest payable 54.2 1.9 56.1    
  Total federal debt securities
    held by the public and
    accrued interest
12,833.6 338.9 13,172.5    
Types of marketable securities:
Bills—Short-term obligations issued with a term of 1 year or less.
Notes—Medium-term obligations issued with a term of 2 - 10 years.
Bonds—Long-term obligations of more than 10 years.
TIPS—Term of more than 5 years.
FRN—Term of 2 years.

Federal debt securities held by the public outside the Government are held by individuals, corporations, state or local governments, FRBs, foreign governments, and other entities outside the federal government. The above table details government borrowing primarily to finance operations and shows marketable and nonmarketable securities at face value less net unamortized premiums and discounts including accrued interest.

Securities that represent federal debt held by the public are issued primarily by the Treasury and include:

  • Interest-bearing marketable securities (bills, notes, bonds, inflation-protected, and floating rate notes).
  • Interest-bearing nonmarketable securities (government account series held by deposit and fiduciary funds, foreign series, state and local government series, domestic series, and savings bonds).
  • Non-interest-bearing marketable and nonmarketable securities (matured and other).

Section 3111 of Title 31, United States Code (U.S.C.) authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to use money received from the sale of an obligation and other money in the General Fund to buy, redeem, or refund, at or before maturity, outstanding bonds, notes, certificates of indebtedness, Treasury bills, or savings certificates of the Government.

Gross federal debt (with some adjustments) is subject to a statutory ceiling (i.e., the debt limit). Prior to 1917, Congress approved each debt issuance. In 1917, to facilitate planning in World War I, Congress and the President first enacted a statutory dollar ceiling for federal borrowing. With the Public Debt Act of 1941 (Public Law 77-7), Congress and the President set an overall limit of $65 billion on Treasury debt obligations that could be outstanding at any one time; since then, Congress and the President have enacted a number of debt limit increases.

During fiscal years 2015 and 2014, Treasury faced multiple delays in raising the statutory debt limit that required it to depart from its normal debt management operations and to invoke legal authorities to avoid exceeding the statutory debt limit. During these periods, extraordinary measures taken by Treasury have resulted in federal debt securities not being issued to certain federal accounts. One such recent period occurred from May 20, 2013 through October 16, 2013. On October 17, 2013, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 (Public Law No. 113-46) was enacted which temporarily suspended the statutory debt limit through February 7, 2014. On February 8, 2014, the debt limit was raised to $17,211.6 billion. A second occurred from February 10, 2014, through February 14, 2014. On February 15, 2014 Congress enacted the Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act (Public Law No. 113-83) which temporarily suspended the debt limit through March 15, 2015. On March 16, 2015, in accordance with Public Law No. 113-83, the statutory debt limit was raised to $18,113.0 billion. A third delay in raising the statutory debt limit occurred from March 16, 2015 through November 1, 2015. On November 2, 2015 Congress enacted the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Public Law No. 114-74) which temporarily suspended the debt limit through March 15, 2017.

As of September 30, 2015, and 2014, debt subject to the statutory debt limit was $18,113.0 billion and $17,781.1 billion, respectively. The debt subject to the limit includes Treasury securities held by the public and Government guaranteed debt of federal agencies (shown in the table above) and intragovernmental debt holdings (shown in the following table). As noted above, a delay in raising the statutory debt limit existed as of September 30, 2015. Extraordinary measures taken by Treasury during the period of March 16, 2015 through September 30, 2015 resulted in federal debt securities not being issued to certain federal government accounts. See Note 16—Other Liabilities, Note 22—Fiduciary Activities and Note 26-Subsequent Events for additional information.

Intragovernmental Debt Holdings: Federal Debt Securities
Held as Investments by Government Accounts as of September 30, 2015, and 2014
(In billions of dollars)
Balance
2014
Net
Change
During
Fiscal Year
2015
Balance
2015
Social Security Administration, Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund 2,712.8 53.8 2,766.6
Office of Personnel Management, Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund 857.2 (125.9) 731.3
Department of Defense, Military Retirement Fund 483.1 47.9 531.0
Department of Defense, Medicare-Eligible Retiree Health Care Fund 200.4 5.4 205.8
Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Hospital Insurance Fund 202.2 (6.7) 195.5
Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund 68.4 (2.3) 66.1
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, The Deposit Insurance Fund 48.8 11.3 60.1
Department of Energy, Nuclear Waste Disposal Fund 51.5 0.3 51.8
Office of Personnel Management, Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund 48.5 (3.3) 45.2
Department of Labor, Unemployment Trust Fund 35.9 8.5 44.4
Office of Personnel Management, Employees Life Insurance Fund 43.2 0.8 44.0
Social Security Administration, Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund 70.1 (28.5) 41.6
Office of Personnel Management, Employees Health Benefits Fund 23.6 (0.6) 23.0
Department of the Treasury, Exchange Stabilization Fund 22.6 (1.8) 20.8
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Fund 17.4 1.1 18.5
Department of State, Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Fund 17.8 0.3 18.1
Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHA, Mutual Mortgage Insurance Capital Reserve Account 6.4 8.3 14.7
Department of Housing and Urban Development, Guarantees of Mortgage-Backed Securities Capital Reserve Account - 12.8 12.8
Department of Transportation, Airport and Airway Trust Fund 12.8 (0.1) 12.7
National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund 11.0 0.6 11.6
All other programs and funds 105.4 5.8 111.2
Subtotal 5,039.1 (12.3) 5,026.8
Total net unamortized premiums/(discounts) for intragovernmental 67.8 7.5 75.3
Total intragovernmental debt holdings, net 5,106.9 (4.8) 5,102.1

Intragovernmental debt holdings represent the portion of the gross federal debt held as investments by government entities such as trust funds, revolving funds, and special funds. As noted above, the delay in raising the debt limit still existed as of September 30, 2015. As such, suspension of certain investments of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund contributed to the decrease in the intragovernmental debt holding balance for the fund.

Government entities that held investments in Treasury securities include trust funds that have funds from dedicated collections. For more information on funds from dedicated collections, see Note 21—Funds from Dedicated Collections. These intragovernmental debt holdings are eliminated in the consolidation of these financial statements.

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