US budget deficit up 60.7% in first 3 months of budget year

The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that with three months gone in the budget year, the deficit was $216.3 billion higher than the same October-December period a year ago.

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The U.S. Treasury Department building viewed from the Washington Monument, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington.

The U.S. Treasury Department building viewed from the Washington Monument, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Washington.

AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government’s deficit in the first three months of the budget year was a record-breaking $572.9 billion, 60.7% higher than the same period a year ago, as spending to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic pushed outlays up while revenue declined.

The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that with three months gone in the budget year, the deficit was $216.3 billion higher than the same October-December period a year ago.

The deficit, the shortfall between what the government collects in taxes and what it spends, reflects an 18.3% jump in outlays to $1.38 trillion, a record for the period, while revenues fell 0.4% to $803.37 billion. The deficit is the difference between revenue collections and outlays.

For just the month of December, the deficit totaled a record $143.6 billion.

The deficit for the 2020 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, climbed to an all-time high of $3.1 trillion. Beginning in the spring, Congress passed trillion-dollar-plus spending measures to combat the harm being done to the economy from a pandemic-induced downturn.

The recession, which has seen millions of Americans lose their jobs, has also meant a drop in tax revenues at a time when the demand on government support programs such as unemployment benefits and food stamps has risen.

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