WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit is on pace to break the $1 trillion mark for a third straight year, pressuring Congress and the Obama administration to come up with a plan to rein in government spending.
The deficit through the first eight months of this budget year totaled $927.4 billion, the Treasury Department said yesterday. Three years ago that would have ranked as the highest ever for a full year. Instead, it is running almost even with last year’s pace, when the deficit grew to $1.29 trillion, and behind the 2009 deficit that hit a record $1.41 trillion.
The imbalance for May was $57.6 billion, compared with $135.9 billion for the same month last year. But much of that improvement came from a $45 billion write-down in the estimated cost of the financial bailout program.
Soaring deficits have prompted Republicans to insist on deep spending cuts before agreeing to raise the $14.3 trillion borrowing limit, which the government reached in May.
The White House and Democrats want to trim the deficit through spending cuts and also by ending tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans are focusing exclusively on cutting spending.