US deficit soars to $691 billion, expected to top $1 trillion this year

The federal deficit in the first six months of the 2019 fiscal year reached $691 billion, according to new federal data, eclipsing the full-year deficits from 2015-2017.
 
The data released by the Treasury Department projects that deficits will reach $1.1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
 
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The spike in the deficit is largely the result of the GOP tax plan, which was projected to add $1.9 trillion to the deficit over a decade, and bipartisan legislation to increase spending.
 
“That should concern us all,” said Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “As we’ve stated repeatedly, policymakers should be developing plans to restore fiscal sanity. Ignoring the problem is bad enough, but now partisans on both sides of the aisle are proposing further unpaid-for spending increases.”
 
Republicans are pushing to extend the tax cuts and increase defense spending, while Democrats are looking to boost nondefense spending ahead of 2020.
 
House Democrats scrapped plans this week to pass a bill increasing spending caps for 2020 over pressure from progressives seeking to either pare back defense spending or increase nondefense spending.
 
The Peterson Foundation, a budget watchdog, said the increasing debt posed "significant risk to our economy and to every American's future."

Payments on the debt's interest alone had reached $190 billion in the first half of 2019, amounting to over $1 billion a day.

"Instead of managing our debt, we’re simply saddling future generations with an enormous burden that will affect their economic opportunity and quality of life,” said Peterson Foundation CEO Michael A. Peterson.