Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.

Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Rick Perry
stated on March 2, 2010 in a speech:
"Washington cannot hide from the fact that Congress hiked the national debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion. They cannot hide from the fact . . . that the budget that they’re going forward with has more than a $5 trillion in debt in it over the next five years."
true true
By W. Gardner Selby March 4, 2010

Gov. Rick Perry says Congress hiked debt limit to $14 trillion and federal budget under preparation has over $5 trillion in debt over five years

After winning the 2010 Republican nomination for governor, Gov. Rick Perry told supporters Tuesday that energized voters are upset at congressional spending.

In a wide-ranging speech, Perry specified two factors, saying: "Washington cannot hide from the fact that Congress hiked the national debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion. They cannot hide from the fact . . . that the budget that they’re going forward with has more than $5 trillion in debt in it over the next five years."

Do those debt numbers hold up?

Perry's campaign pointed us to news accounts of the U.S. House and Senate voting in January to raise the federal government’s debt limit to $14.3 trillion, a historic high adopted solely with Democratic votes in the Democrat-majority bodies. Proponents noted that the increase was needed to allow the government to continue borrowing and avoid default.

On Perry's reference to the federal debt increasing by $5 trillion over five years, his campaign pointed to a Feb. 1 article on President Barack Obama's proposed 2011 federal budget. The story says Obama's proposal would result in deficits of $5.08 trillion over five years.

Separately, Obama's proposed budget shows the nation's public debt increasing from $7.5 trillion in 2009, reflecting actions taken under President George W. Bush and the Congress that made budget decisions in 2008, to $13.1 trillion in 2014—potentially increasing $5.6 trillion. The debt increase from 2010 to 2015 is projected at $4.7 trillion.

Josh Gordon of The Concord Coalition, which advocates long-term fiscal responsibilty, cautioned that much of the current and immediately expected deficits are due to economic troubles and not White House or congressional actions. Gordon said it's typical for government to run a deficit during an economic downturn.

In the end, Obama’s proposed budget won’t sail through Congress; presidents (and governors) propose, lawmakers dispose. Still, Obama's proposal seems a reasonable basis for Perry’s debt claim.

The governor also is correct on the size of the increased federal debt limit.

We rate Perry's statement as True.

Our Sources

E-mail, Travis Richmond, research director, Gov. Rick Perry campaign, March 3, 2010

Interview, Josh Gordon, policy director, The Concord Coalition, March 3, 2010

Politico, "Five years, $5.08 trillion in debt," Feb. 1, 2010

The Hill, "House raises debt limit to $14.3 trillion," Feb. 4, 2010

The Washington Post, "Senate agrees to record increase in debt limit to $14.3 trillion," Jan. 29, 2010

President Barack Obama, "Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2011," "Summary Tables, Table S-1. Budget Totals," Feb. 1, 2010

Reuters, "Senate backs increase in debt limit to $14.3 tln," Jan. 28, 2010

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by W. Gardner Selby

Gov. Rick Perry says Congress hiked debt limit to $14 trillion and federal budget under preparation has over $5 trillion in debt over five years

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up