Federal deficit on track for Obama-administration low

September 11, 2013

Increased tax revenue and spending cuts have put the federal government on track to post its smallest annual budget deficit for the Obama administration, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg) - Pedestrians view the National Debt Clock in New York City.
(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg) — Pedestrians view the National Debt Clock in New York City.

The national debt grew by $750 billion during the first 11 months of fiscal 2013, compared to an increase of $1.16 trillion during the same period last year, the CBO said in its August federal-budget review.

That pace should be good enough for the lowest increase during President Obama’s White House tenure. The previous low was $1.23 trillion in 2011, while the high was $1.89 trillion in 2009, according to Treasury Department data.

The CBO projected that the outlook will only improve through the end of the current fiscal year, with revenues likely to outpace outlays in September.

Receipts for the first 11 months of the current fiscal year increased by $284 billion, representing a 13 percent rise over the same time in 2012, according to the report. Meanwhile, spending through August declined by $127 billion, or about 4 percent, compared to the same period last year.

The CBO report provides ammunition for Democrats and Republicans as they prepare for another round of budget talks, since the numbers show that both tax increases and spending cuts have helped reduce the budget gap. Still, neither party is likely to be satisfied.

The White House and Senate Republicans quit on negotiations late last month. GOP lawmakers have refused to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy, focusing their attention instead on spending cuts. Democrats have asked for new revenue but suggested they are open to limited budget reductions.

Failure to reach a spending deal by Oct. 1 could result in a partial government shutdown, with a potential debt default looming after that deadline.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed or e-mail  josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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