A binding agreement by a government agency to pay for goods, products, services, studies, and the like, either immediately or in the future.
When an agency enters into such an agreement, it incurs an obligation. As the agency makes the required payments, it liquidates the obligation.
SOURCE: House Budget Committee
National Debt Glossary
Looks up the key terms for understanding America's financial crisis
Frequently Asked Questions: National Debt
- How did the national debt get to be so big?
- What's the difference between the debt and the deficit?
- Why can't the government just print more money to get out of debt?
- How much U.S. debt is owned by foreign countries?