Budget deficit totals record $735.7 billion through January News Staff

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government’s budget deficit hit $735.7 billion through the first four months of the budget year — an all-time high for the period — as a pandemic-induced recession cut into tax revenues while spending on COVID relief measures sent outlays soaring.

The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the deficit so far for the budget year that began Oct. 1 is 89% higher than the $389.2 billion deficit run up in the same period a year ago. Last year’s deficit through January had not yet been impacted by the pandemic, which began hitting the U.S. in February.

The report showed that spending through the first four months of this budget year was up 22.7% to $1.92 trillion compared to the same period last year, while government tax revenues were down 0.8% to $1.19 trillion.

For January, the deficit totalled a record for the month of $182.8 billion. One of the big spending categories last month included $139 billion for another round of individual economic relief payments authorized by the $900 billion relief measure Congress passed in late December.

President Joe Biden is pushing for Congress to approve another $1.9 trillion relief measure that would provide a round of $1,400 payments. The December measure included individual payments of $600.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

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