Bud­get deficit swells to $90 bil­lion in June

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL - MARTIN CRUTSINGER

WASH­ING­TON — The fed­eral bud­get deficit rose sharply in June com­pared with a year ago, although much of the in­crease re­flected cal­en­dar quirks.

The Trea­sury Depart­ment said Thurs­day that the June deficit to­taled $90.2 bil­lion com­pared with a sur­plus in June 2016 of $6.3 bil­lion. How­ever, out­lays grew by $39 bil­lion this year com­pared with the same pe­riod a year ago be­cause ben­e­fit pay­ments that nor­mally would have been dis­trib­uted in July were made in June since July 1 fell on a Satur­day.

Through the first nine months of the cur­rent bud­get year, which be­gan Oct. 1, the fed­eral bud­get deficit to­taled $523.1 bil­lion, up from a deficit of $399.2 bil­lion dur­ing the same pe­riod a year ago.

Last month, the Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice re­leased an up­dated fore­cast that pro­jected the fed­eral bud­get deficit for this year will reach $693 bil­lion. That rep­re­sented a sharp in­crease of $134 bil­lion from the bud­get of­fice’s Jan­uary fore­cast. The fed­eral deficit in 2016 to­taled $585.6 bil­lion.

The Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice blamed much of this year’s pro­jected in­crease on the fact that the gov­ern­ment is col­lect­ing less money in tax rev­enue than had been ex­pected.

So far this bud­get year, rev­enue has to­taled $2.51 tril­lion, up 1.6 per­cent com­pared with the same eight months last year. Gov­ern­ment spend­ing over the same pe­riod has grown by 5.7 per­cent, reach­ing $3 tril­lion.

Ac­cu­mu­lat­ing bud­get deficits add to the over­all fed­eral debt, which to­taled more than $19.84 tril­lion as of Wed­nes­day. That fig­ure in­cludes more than $5 tril­lion the gov­ern­ment owes it­self, mostly from bor­row­ing from the So­cial Se­cu­rity Trust Fund.

Fac­ing the prospect of a gov­ern­ment shut­down, Congress has an Oct. 1 dead­line to ap­prove a bud­get for the next fis­cal year. How­ever, law­mak­ers are ex­pected to pass a stop­gap spend­ing mea­sure to buy time to iron out dif­fer­ences.

In ad­di­tion, the bud­get of­fice has said that Congress will need to in­crease the gov­ern­ment’s bor­row­ing limit by mid-Oc­to­ber to avoid de­fault­ing on pay­ments on the na­tional debt.

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