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Expand chart
Data: FRED and U.S. Department of the Treasury; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The federal deficit is now 17% higher than it was at the end of the last fiscal year, according to figures the Treasury Department released this week — but that just begins to tell the story of all the red ink we've been building up. Here's how the deficits have grown, shrunk, and grown again over the last 58 years.

Why it matters: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview with Bloomberg that the deficits are "driven by the three big entitlement programs" — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — and most budget experts agree that entitlement programs drive most of the spending in the federal budget. But the latest increase also provides evidence that the new tax cuts could be making the deficits worse, as the Congressional Budget Office said they would.

Go deeper

CPAC Republicans choose conservatism over constituents

Rep. Matt Gaetz. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

CPAC proved such a draw, conservative Republicans chose the conference over their constituents.

Why it matters: More than a dozen House Republicans voted by proxy on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in Washington so they could speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC. And Sen. Ted Cruz skipped an Air Force One flight as President Biden flew to Cruz's hometown of Houston to survey storm damage.

Border Democrat warns Biden about immigrant fallout

Henry Cuellar (right). Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images

A Democratic lawmaker representing a border district warned the Biden administration against easing up too much on unauthorized immigrants, citing their impact on his constituents, local hospitals and their potential to spread the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) told Axios he supports President Biden. But the moderate said he sees the downsides of efforts to placate pro-immigrant groups, an effort that threatens to blow up on the administration.

In CPAC speech, Trump says he won't start a 3rd party

Trump at CPAC on Feb. 28 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Courtesy of C-SPAN.

In his first public speech since leaving office, former President Trump told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he would not start a third party because "we have the Republican party."

Why it matters: The former president aims to cement himself as Republicans' "presumptive 2024 nominee" as his top contenders — including former members of his administration — face the challenge of running against the GOP's most popular politician.