US deficit for current budget year climbs to $2.24 trillion

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government’s deficit for the first nine months of this budget year hit $2.24 trillion, keeping the country on track for its second biggest shortfall in history.

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Tuesday that the deficit for the budget year that ends in September is running 9.1% below last year’s pace.

The deficit for the full 2020 fiscal year was a record $3.1 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that this year’s deficit will total a slightly smaller $3 trillion. The deficits in both years were bloated by the multitrillion-dollar spending packages the government has passed to combat the economic downturns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the previous deficit record was $1.4 trillion, set in 2009 when the government was seeking to offset a steep economic downturn triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.

So far this fiscal year, government receipts have totaled $3.06 trillion, up 35.2% from the same period a year ago. The number for last year was pushed downward by the fact that various tax deadlines were delayed, so revenue collections were lower because payments came in after June.

Spending in the October-June period totaled $5.29 trillion, up 5.8% from the same period last year.