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WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The government will run a $1.1 trillion deficit in the fiscal year that ends in September, a slight dip from last year but still very high by any measure, according to a budget report released Tuesday.
The Congressional Budget Office report also says that annual deficits will remain in the $1 trillion range for the next several years if Bush-era tax cuts slated to expire in December are extended, as commonly assumed â¿¿ and if Congress is unable to live within the tight "caps" the lawmakers themselves placed on agency budgets last year.
The report is yet another reminder of the perilous fiscal situation the government is in, but it's commonly assumed that President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Congress will be able to accomplish little on the deficit issue during an election year. The report was slightly more pessimistic than CBO's most recent projections last summer and would mean the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar-plus deficits.
The recent wave of shocking, trillion-dollar-plus deficits has been largely a product of the recent deep recession and the slower-than-hoped recovery. The jolt to the economy has made a permanent dent in revenue estimates but the budget crunch will get even worse with the retirement of the Baby Boom generation and the resulting strain of Social Security and Medicare.
The report prompted a familiar wave of statements from lawmakers casting blame on the other for the fiscal mess.
"Four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, no credible plan to lift the crushing burden of debt," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., "The president and his party's leaders have fallen short in their duty to tackle our generation's most pressing fiscal and economic challenges."
"We will not solve this problem unless both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D. "Republicans must be willing to put revenue on the table."