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The Numbers Are In And Republicans Have Ballooned The Deficit To A Six-Year High

Reuters

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

The U.S. budget deficit swelled from $666 billion in fiscal year 2017 to $779 billion in 2018, a roughly 17 percent increase that has produced the highest deficit since 2012, according to Treasury Department data released Monday.

The deficit was driven largely by a bipartisan spending package passed in February. The package included hikes in defense and domestic spending and was projected to add $300 billion to the deficit, a proposition criticized by Congress’s more conservative members. (RELATED: Congress Passes Huge Budget, But It’s Not Trump’s)

“President Trump prioritized making a significant investment in America’s military after years of reductions in military spending undermined our preparedness and national security,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “Going forward the President’s economic policies that have stimulated strong economic growth, combined with proposals to cut wasteful spending, will lead America toward a sustainable financial path.”

Treasury Department graph of data showing the growing deficit from fiscal years 2017 to 2018.

Treasury Department graph of data showing the growing deficit from fiscal years 2017 to 2018. (Screenshot/Treasury Department)

Increases in tax revenue slowed year to year but still gained slightly – less than .5 percent – over 2017. The slowdown stemmed from a tax reduction bill signed by Trump in December.

Spurred by lower taxes, strong economic growth overtook increases in the deficit, and federal spending actually fell as a share of Gross Domestic Product from 20.7 percent in fiscal year 2017 to 20.3 percent in fiscal year 2018.

The U.S. had a record budget surplus for September of $119 billion, but the gain is owed largely to pushing back some payments past the Sept. 30 deadline that marked the end of the 2018 fiscal year, Reuters reports.

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