Last six months of federal government’s fiscal year shows a $50 billion deficit

CNN’s Jeanne Sahadi covers the government debt “debt clock” and “what’s in your paycheck.” Follow Jeanne on Twitter @sahadi.

WASHINGTON — The federal government racked up a deficit of $49.98 billion over the first six months of the 2017 fiscal year, according to Treasury Department figures released on Friday.

The Government Accountability Office earlier this month estimated the deficit over the first six months would total $90.5 billion.

The president’s latest budget request, for the year beginning October 1, projects a $540 billion deficit.

The annual budget gap represents a reduction over last year, when the federal deficit hit $666 billion.

Total revenue for the first six months of the fiscal year was $2.73 trillion. For the same period last year, total revenue was $2.81 trillion.

The budget deficit for the entire 2016 fiscal year was $587 billion.

Monthly figures released by the Treasury Department provide a glimpse of how spending and revenues are diverging across the calendar. April was a big month for deficit spending, with only slight spikes in revenues, partially due to higher gasoline prices.

And even though some economists expect deficits to decline as anemic inflation gives the Federal Reserve ammunition to take a break from stimulus, there are signs Washington won’t be able to slow spending growth.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress in March that the government would increase deficits again in the new fiscal year after Washington spent $380 billion more than was projected by Congress a year ago.

That’s partly because the GOP’s tax bill expected to be approved later this month provides generous tax cuts that economists say will accelerate growth, further increasing the government’s expenses.

Republicans, however, want to cut spending, including on social programs, to make up for the planned tax increases. The fate of the GOP’s Obamacare repeal bill is still unclear and there is no imminent plan for new deficit reduction.

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