Dems blast Bush and McCain for record deficit

The top Democratic leaders in Congress blasted President Bush on Monday over new projections that the federal budget deficit would reach a record $482 billion for fiscal 2009.

The 2009 deficit was originally forecast at closer to $400 billion, but that has changed because of the slowing economy and mounting war costs.

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“President Bush has mortgaged our future with record deficit spending on the wrong priorities,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “An unnecessary and extraordinarily costly war in Iraq has turned record surpluses into record deficits.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidThe Supreme Court vacancy — yet another congressional food fight Trump seeks to turn around campaign with Supreme Court fight On The Trail: Battle over Ginsburg replacement threatens to break Senate MORE (D-Nev.) also blamed Bush for the deficit and attempted to tie the president to the expected GOP nominee, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain endorses Biden: He's only candidate 'who stands up for our values' Biden says Cindy McCain will endorse him Biden's six best bets in 2016 Trump states MORE (Ariz.).

“The large budget deficit is a symptom of the many serious problems that Bush-McCain Republicans refuse to address,” Reid said.

A projected deficit of nearly half a trillion dollars would exceed the previous record deficit of $413 billion, set in 2004.  The deficit for the next fiscal year is projected to rise to 3.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), a smaller percentage of the economy than deficits from two decades ago.

The 2004 deficit was 3.6 percent of the GDP, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The administration released the new deficit projections as part of its mid-session review, an updated estimate of government receipts and outlays.

The budget deficit for fiscal 2008 is estimated at $389 billion, about $20 billion lower than a February estimate. The 2008 deficit is about 2.7 percent of GDP.

Republicans in Congress attempted to point the finger at Democrats.

Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, argued that the deficit has soared because of Democrats’ failure to offset new spending.

“Their failure to address energy prices and entitlement spending, coupled with their incessant push for billions in new spending, have contributed to this high deficit number and have put our nation’s economic health in jeopardy,” said Gregg in reference to Democrats.

The Republican and Democratic presidential candidates seized on news of the record deficit to attack each other.

A senior aide to Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMichelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez exchange Ginsburg memories Pence defends Trump's 'obligation' to nominate new Supreme Court justice The militia menace MORE (Ill.), the presumptive Democratic nominee, pledged a Democratic administration would cut wasteful spending and rescind tax cuts for wealthy Americans.

“That's an important issue in this election because Sen. McCain is proposing to continue the same Bush economic policies that put our economy on this dangerous path and that will drive America even deeper into debt,” said Jason FurmanJason FurmanOn The Money: Five things to know about the August jobs report Dates — and developments — to watch as we enter the home stretch In surprise, unemployment rate falls, economy adds jobs MORE, Obama’s economic policy director.

McCain touted his record in fighting “wasteful earmarks and unnecessary spending.”

“Sen. Obama will not commit to balancing our budget, does not propose to control spending, and has only one answer to every challenge: Raise taxes,” McCain said in a statement.

Kevin Bogardus and Sam Youngman contributed to this report.