WASHINGTON >> The federal budget deficit rose sharply in June compared to a year ago, although much of the increase reflected calendar quirks.
The Treasury Department said Thursday the June deficit totaled $90.2 billion compared to a surplus in June 2016 of $6.3 billion. However, outlays grew by $39 billion this year because benefit payments that normally would have been distributed in July were made in June since July 1 fell on a Saturday.
Through the first nine months of this budget year, the deficit totals $523.1 billion, up from a deficit of $399.2 billion during the same period a year ago.
The Congressional Budget Office released an updated forecast last month that projected the deficit for this year will total $693 billion. That represented a sharp increase of $134 billion from CBO’s January forecast. The deficit in 2016 totaled $585.6 billion.
CBO blamed much of this year’s increase on the fact that the government is collecting less money in tax revenue this year than had been expected.
For this budget year, which began Oct. 1, revenues total $2.51 trillion, up 1.6 percent from the same eight months last year. Outlays have risen 5.7 percent during the same period to $3 trillion.
Congress is facing a deadline of Oct. 1 for getting a budget approved for the next fiscal year or face the prospect of a government shutdown. The expectation is that lawmakers will pass a stop-gap spending measure to buy time to iron out differences.
In addition, the CBO has said that Congress will need to increase the government’s borrowing limit by mid-October in order to avoid a catastrophic default on the national debt.