By Erik Wasson - 12/06/13 04:54 PM EST
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Friday that the budget deficit for the first two months of the fiscal year was $231 billion, down $61 billion from last year.
The scorekeeper said the gap has declined due to increased tax revenue and lower spending in fiscal year 2014.
Individual tax receipts increased 10 percent, partly because of the expiration in January of a 2-percentage-point payroll tax holiday and increased tax rates on those making more than $400,000 per year.
The declining deficit also reflects a 5 percent decrease in spending, in part due to the automatic spending cuts from sequestration.
The first two months of the year saw $10 billion less in defense spending and $2 billion less in unemployment benefits spending, for example. There was less spending on disaster aid as well.
For November alone, the CBO estimates a decline in the deficit from $172 billion in 2013 to $140 billion this year.
The CBO report comes as lawmakers are looking to reverse $30 billion to $45 billion in sequester cuts slated for 2014 by replacing them with cuts to entitlements like federal worker retirement benefits.