The federal budget deficit, which hit a record $1.4 trillion last year, will exceed that figure this year and again in 2011, the White House predicted Friday, providing fresh ammunition to Republicans who are hammering President Obama for all the red ink as they campaign to regain control of Congress in November.
The latest forecast from the White House budget office shows the deficit rising to $1.47 trillion this year, forcing the government to borrow 41 cents of every dollar it spends. Contrary to official projections, the budget gap will not begin to narrow much in 2011, because of an unexpectedly big drop in tax receipts.
White House budget director Peter Orszag said in a conference call with reporters that Obama is still on track to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.
But the forecast provides no relief from the gloomy outlook that has been forcing Obama to consider deeper cuts to defense and non-security programs as well as additional tax increases. This week, the administration also repeated its intention to let tax cuts for the wealthy expire in January.