The US has been borrowing to finance the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but now the government is pushing to borrow another $700bn.

The White House said Wednesday it will increase the debt limit by $1.2tn to allow it to raise more money.

That would require $700b in new borrowing.

The White House says the money will be used to pay for military and other expenses, as well as to pay down the national debt.

It has raised the debt ceiling for the first time since the financial crisis of 2007-2009, and is still at $16.2trn.

The US government spent $8.9tn in fiscal 2017, with the debt at $18.5trn at the end of the fiscal year.

But Congress is not expected to agree to a new debt ceiling until next week.

With the US economy on the brink of a record low unemployment rate and the federal government on track to meet its budget deficit goal for the year, the debt issue has sparked a debate about whether it is time to borrow more to keep the government operating.

“This is a very important debate, and I think the president will make an important statement,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, told MSNBC.

In a joint statement, the White House and Congress said the debt will be increased to meet future needs and avoid a default.

President Donald Trump, who has promised to lower taxes, said in a statement: “We will have the greatest economic growth in American history, but that will only happen if we pay down our national debt, invest in our economy and create jobs.

It is time for Congress to act and act quickly to pass a budget that works for the American people.”

But the Whitehouse also argued the increase would be good for the economy.

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the increase was necessary to meet the country’s fiscal needs.

“This will be the first increase in debt limit since the fiscal cliff,” he said in remarks to the Federal Reserve.

“It will allow us to continue to invest in economic growth, jobs and infrastructure, while ensuring we do not overspend and create unnecessary debt.”

In fiscal year 2019, the Treasury Secretary said, the United States will have accumulated $3.6 trillion in debt and $4.3 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

“Mr Mnuchin added that he expected Congress to pass the $700billion in borrowing bill on Thursday.

Republicans are divided over the timing of the new borrowing and the president’s position.

The Senate is expected to pass its version of the debt-ceiling bill on Wednesday, and the House is expected on Thursday to approve it.

Meanwhile, a separate measure passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday that would extend the US government’s $2.3trn borrowing limit for another two years, and add $1bn in new debt.

However, the bill would require the Senate to approve any new borrowing increase before it can go to President Donald Trump for signature.

Follow Peter Taylor on Twitter: @petertork

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