Aug 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S. budget deficit swells to $2.81 trillion

 A bicyclist rides past the United States Capitol on August 6, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The U.S. budget deficit ballooned to $2.81 trillion from last October through July — a record for the budgetary period, per a Treasury statement published Wednesday.

Details: $63 billion was added to the deficit last month. That was the lowest monthly figure since the pandemic began, amid a fall in government spending and as the tax filing deadline was extended to July 15.

  • Marc Goldwein, senior vice president at the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told the Washington Post the monthly budget situation was down to a "huge influx of taxes that would otherwise be paid in April."
  • "The vast majority of the lower deficit is driven by the delay of tax season," Goldwein added.
  • A key source of spending in July lies with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor, which provided an additional $600 per week to qualifying unemployed individuals until that payment expired last month.

The big picture: Congress has spent trillions of dollars in coronavirus relief, but negotiations for the next stimulus package have stalled. Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain without a job.

  • Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said it's "not the time to prioritize" the deficit as a concern as he focuses on supporting the economy, noting: "There's really no limit to what we can do with these lending programs that we have."

Go deeper: CBO says deficit will approach $4 trillion in 2020

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