Feds run $413 billion deficit at halfway point of fiscal year

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The federal government ran a $413 billion deficit through the first half of fiscal 2014, according to a new estimate Monday from the Congressional Budget Office that showed continued improvement in the nation’s fiscal picture.

The $413 billion deficit, while still higher than any full-year deficit before 2008, is $187 billion lower than at the same point last year, and well below the half-year deficits earlier in President Obama’s tenure.

This year’s boost has been powered by both higher tax revenues, and by another drop in overall spending. The CBO said adjusted for timing of payments, the government is spending 3 percent less in 2014 than it did through the same period in 2013.

Defense spending is down $23 billion, while unemployment benefit spending was down $12 billion.

Spending on Social Security and Medicaid, however, are up sharply — 4.6 percent for Social Security, and more than 10 percent for Medicaid, which is the federal-state program for the poor. President Obama’s health law pushed states to expand Medicaid, and offered to cover the costs for the initial years.

For full fiscal 2014, the CBO has estimated the government will run $514 billion in the red. Last year, the government posted a $679.5 billion deficit.

The House will voter later this week on a budget plan that would put the government in the black by 2023. Senate Democrats, though, have said they won’t write or pass a budget this year.

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