WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s gross national debt has surpassed $31 trillion, according to a U.S. Treasury report released Tuesday. It is edging closer to the statutory ceiling of roughly $31.4 trillion, an artificial cap Congress placed on the U.S. government’s ability to borrow. The debt numbers hit an already tenuous economy facing high inflation, rising interest rates and a strong U.S. dollar. President Joe Biden has touted his administration’s deficit reduction efforts this year and has recently signed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which attempts to tame 40-year high price increases caused by a variety of economic factors. But economists say the latest debt numbers are a cause for concern.