CBO: $777 billion deficit for first six months of fiscal year

The budget scorekeeper said that most of the $46 billion jump in revenues — a 4.5 percent increase — was due to corporations making higher tax payments or receiving a smaller refund.

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CBO also said that spending in a variety of areas — Medicaid, education and unemployment insurance, among others — also fell during the first six months of the fiscal year.

The budget office’s release comes as budget deficits are poised to play a key role in this year’s election, and weeks after CBO estimated that the 2012 deficit would be roughly $1.2 trillion.

The 2012 deficit is now expected to be some $93 billion higher than earlier expected, in large part because of the extension of the payroll tax cut for workers.

On Capitol Hill, House Republicans recently passed a budget that would cut $5 trillion more than President Obama’s 2013 framework.

Obama slammed that proposal, largely crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), in a speech this week, saying that he was employing a centrist approach while the GOP approach was radical.

“This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether. It is a Trojan horse,” Obama said Tuesday. “Disguised as deficit-reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.”

For their part, Ryan and other Republicans have cast Obama as not being serious about reining in deficits.

“Our country faces serious economic and fiscal challenges,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in response to Obama’s speech. “Americans continue to be disappointed that the president is shrinking from those challenges rather than displaying the courage needed to solve them.”

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