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But interest on the debt continues to grow, reaching $101 billion through the end of February — a 12.5 percent increase over 2010.

The nonpartisan CBO’s February deficit number is preliminary. The Treasury Department will issue the final number later this week.

February is traditionally a bad month for federal finances. The previous two records were $220.9 billion, posted exactly a year ago, and $193.9 billion in February 2009.