Federal deficit jumps to $743 billion in March
The federal deficit for fiscal year 2020 rose to $743.6 billion in March, 7.6 percent higher than at the same point last year, according to Treasury Department data released Friday.
The increase does not reflect the $2.2 trillion coronavirus emergency relief package that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn’t ‘drop dead’ if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom’s license MORE signed into law on March 27.
Treasury still projects the annual deficit will amount to just under $1.1 trillion. The fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
Washington’s responses to the pandemic, however, are expected to triple or even quadruple the federal deficit as tax revenues plummet, safety net spending increases and emergency measures pump cash into a devastated economy.
Some conservative groups are already calling for Congress to delay action on further federal spending like the kind that’s now under consideration on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are laying the groundwork for a fourth coronavirus relief bill.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls for investigation into reports of mistreatment of pregnant women in DHS custody Wisconsin highlights why states need a bipartisan plan that doesn’t include Democrats federalizing elections Pelosi defends push for mail-in voting: GOP ‘afraid’ to let people vote MORE (D-Calif.) said this week than an upcoming measure was likely to cost upward of $1 trillion.
“Now is the time to assess whether relief is getting to the people who need it and fix what’s broken – not rush through another massive bill that could prove less effective than what those Americans in need deserve,” said Tim Phillips, president of the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity.
“Lawmakers should instead focus on properly implementing the $2 trillion package they just passed while also considering reforms that, once this public health crisis is over, could help clear the way for businesses and individuals to jumpstart the economy,” he added.
Budget hawks have long warned that allowing deficits and debt to increase unchecked could make it harder to respond to an economic crisis, which often requires large levels of deficit spending.