President Trump and Republicans celebrating the passage of his tax bill in 2017. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Treasury Department revealed in a budget report on Wednesday that the country’s deficit grew to $691 billion in the first half of the 2019 fiscal year — beginning Oct. 1, 2018 — compared with the $600 billion in the comparable period last year, Reuters reports.

The big picture: The national debt passed $22 trillion, the most ever — $2 trillion of which has been accrued since Trump took office.

Go deeper: The national debt has soared past $22 trillion, but does it even matter?

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show the deficit grew to $691 billion, not grew by $691 billion and the link to last year's tax cuts has been removed because tax receipts were up.

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

Ina Fried, author of Login
35 mins ago - Technology

Amazon wants to flood America with Alexa cameras and microphones

Photo: Amazon

In a Thursday event unveiling a slew of new home devices ahead of the holidays, Amazon made clearer than ever its determination to flood America with cameras, microphones and the voice of Alexa, its AI assistant.

The big picture: Updating popular products and expanding its range to car alarms and in-home drones, Amazon extended its lead in smart home devices and moved into new areas including cloud gaming and car security. The new offerings will also fuel criticism that the tech giant is helping equip a society built around surveillance.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Oil's turbulent long-term future

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The oil sector is facing risks from all sides.

Why it matters: Risk in the industry is nothing new. But these are especially turbulent and uncertain times. The industry's market clout has waned, the future of demand is kind of a mystery, and future U.S. policy is too, just to name three.

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