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2016 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, 2015
Net
Change
During
Fiscal
Year
2016
Balance
September 30,
2016
Average Interest
Rate
2016
2015
Treasury securities (public):
Marketable securities:
Treasury bills 1,355.2 289.6 1,644.8 0.4% 0.1%
Treasury notes 8,366.0 258.3 8,624.3 1.8% 1.8%
Treasury bonds 1,688.2 137.1 1,825.3 4.4% 4.7%
Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) 1,135.4 74.4 1,209.8 0.8% 0.8%
Treasury floating rate notes (FRN) 287.1 47.0 334.1 0.4% 0.1%
Total marketable Treasury securities 12,831.9 806.4 13,638.3    
Nonmarketable securities 292.0 243.1 535.1 2.0% 2.5%
Net unamortized premiums/(discounts) (31.4) (2.4) (33.8)    
Total Treasury securities, net (public) 13,092.5 1,047.1 14,139.6    
Agency securities:
Tennessee Valley Authority 23.7 0.1 23.8    
All other agencies 0.2 - 0.2    
Total agency securities, net of unamortized premiums and discounts 23.9 0.1 24.0    
Accrued interest payable 56.1 1.4 57.5    
Total federal debt securities held by the public and accrued interest 13,172.5 1,048.6 14,221.1    
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.

When delays in raising or suspending the debt limit occur, as they did during both fiscal years 2015 and 2016, Treasury implements “extraordinary actions,” on a temporary basis. Many of the extraordinary actions taken by Treasury during the period of March 16, 2015 through October 30, 2015, resulted in federal debt securities not being issued to certain federal government accounts. As a result of Treasury securities not being issued to the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund) of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) as of September 30, 2015, Treasury reported miscellaneous liabilities in the amount of $204.6 billion that represent uninvested principal of and related interest for the G Fund that would have been reported as Federal Debt Securities Held by the Public and Accrued Interest had there not been a delay in raising the statutory debt limit as of September 30, 2015, and had the Treasury securities been issued. On Monday, November 2, 2015, The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-74) was enacted suspending the statutory debt limit through March 15, 2017. Treasury subsequently restored the uninvested principal and related interest to the G Fund, resulting in an increase in federal debt securities held by the public from 2015 to 2016. See Note 16—Other Liabilities and Note 21—Fiduciary Activities for more information.

As of September 30, 2016, and 2015, debt subject to the statutory debt limit was $19,538.5 billion and $18,113.0 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 and Note 21—Fiduciary Activities.

Intragovernmental Debt Holdings: Federal Debt Securities
Held as Investments by Government Accounts as of September 30, 2016, and 2015
(In billions of dollars)
Balance
2015
Net
Change
During
Fiscal Year
2016
Balance
2016
Social Security Administration, Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund 2,766.6 30.1 2,796.7
Office of Personnel Management, Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund 731.3 155.9 887.2
Department of Defense, Military Retirement Fund 531.0 60.0 591.0
Department of Defense, Medicare-Eligible Retiree Health Care Fund 205.8 7.7 213.5
Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund 195.5 (3.3) 192.2
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Deposit Insurance Fund 60.1 11.4 71.5
Department of Transportation, Highway Trust Fund 7.7 56.9 64.6
Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund 66.1 (2.8) 63.3
Department of Labor, Unemployment Trust Fund 44.4 9.4 53.8
Department of Energy, Nuclear Waste Disposal Fund 51.8 0.6 52.4
Office of Personnel Management, Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund 45.2 6.3 51.5
Social Security Administration, Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund 41.6 4.3 45.9
Office of Personnel Management, Employees Life Insurance Fund 44.0 1.2 45.2
Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHA, Mutual Mortgage Insurance Capital Reserve Account 14.7 21.7 36.4
Office of Personnel Management, Employees Health Benefits Fund 23.0 0.7 23.7
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation 18.5 5.2 23.7
Department of the Treasury, Exchange Stabilization Fund 20.8 1.9 22.7
Department of State, Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Fund 18.1 0.2 18.3
Department of Housing and Urban Development, Guarantees of Mortgage-Backed Securities Capital Reserve Account 12.8 3.0 15.8
Department of Transportation, Airport and Airway Trust Fund 12.7 0.7 13.4
National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund 11.6 0.7 12.3
All other programs and funds 103.5 1.3 104.8
Subtotal 5,026.8 373.1 5,399.9
Total net unamortized premiums/(discounts) for intragovernmental 75.3 (2.6) 72.7
Total intragovernmental debt holdings, net 5,102.1 370.5 5,472.6

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. 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. Treasury subsequently restored uninvested principal and related interest, resulting in an increase to the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund from 2015 to 2016.

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 20─Funds from Dedicated Collections. These intragovernmental debt holdings are eliminated in the consolidation of these financial statements.

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