WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is set to report Friday that the federal budget deficit exceeded $1 trillion for the second straight year, providing critics of government spending with fresh ammunition ahead of the midterm congressional elections.
The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the deficit for the 2010 budget year that ended Sept. 30 will total $1.29 trillion. That’s down by $125 billion from the $1.4 trillion in 2009 – the highest deficit on record.
Soaring deficits have become a problem for Democrats in an election year focused on the weak economy.
Republicans have tapped into voter angst over the deficits, using the $814 billion economic stimulus and $700 billion Wall Street bailout to paint President Barack Obama and his party as big spenders.
Democrats say the recession would have been worse if the government didn’t step in with those programs to prop up the economy. They also note that most of the bailout, which began during the Bush administration and was supported by many Republicans in Congress, has been repaid.
Both parties have acknowledged that rising deficits will present headaches for policymakers regardless of which party controls Congress after November.
The Obama administration is projecting that the deficit for the 2011 budget year, which began on Oct. 1, will climb to $1.4 trillion. Over the next decade, it will total $8.47 trillion. Deficits of that size will constrain the administration’s agenda over the next two years and will certainly be an issue in the 2012 presidential race.