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Economics

U.S. Budget Gap Hits Record $1.7 Trillion for First Half of Year

  • March figures reflect $339 billion in stimulus payments
  • Additional relief funding is set to keep spending heavy
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Biden Asks Congress to Approve $1.52 Trillion Budget

The U.S. federal budget deficit more than doubled to a record in the first half of the fiscal year amid a fresh wave of stimulus payments to cushion Americans from the persistent coronavirus pandemic.

The deficit last month was $659.6 billion, the third-largest on record and biggest since last June, swelling the total from October to March to $1.71 trillion, according to a Treasury Department report Monday. The six-month total compares with $743.5 billion in the prior-year period. In March 2020, the deficit was $119 billion, which didn’t reflect the first wave of payments in the Cares Act approved late that month.