U.S. government posts $139 billion deficit in November

U.S. government posts $139 billion deficit in November

© Reuters. Illustration photo of a U.S. Dollar note© Reuters. Illustration photo of a U.S. Dollar note

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government reported a $139 billion deficit in November, the Treasury Department said on Tuesday.

That compared with a budget deficit of $137 billion in the same month last year, according to Treasury’s monthly budget statement.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the Treasury recording a $134 billion deficit last month.

When accounting for calendar adjustments, the deficit last month was also $139 billion compared with an adjusted deficit of $137 billion in the same month in the previous year.

The deficit for the fiscal year to date was $202 billion, compared to a deficit of $183 billion in the comparable period for fiscal 2017. On an adjusted basis, the fiscal year-to-date deficit was $248 billion last month versus $222 billion in the prior year.

Receipts last month totaled $208 billion, up 4 percent from one year ago, while outlays were $347 billion, a 3 percent increase from the same month a year earlier.

Last week, Congress approved a short-term funding bill that will keep the government open until Dec. 23 but it has yet to agree on a longer-term budget.

The Treasury Department has a statutory cap on how much money it can borrow to cover the budget deficit that results from Washington spending more than it collects in taxes. It has been bumping up against that cap and only Congress can raise the limit.

A temporary measure that suspended the debt limit expired on Dec. 8, although the Treasury has emergency means to continue to pay all its bills through January, it has said.

At the same time, Republicans, who control Congress, are nearing approval of an overhaul of the tax system. Their legislation would add $1.4 trillion over 10 years to the $20 trillion national debt to finance changes that they say would further boost an already growing economy.

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