US budget deficit narrows sharply

The U.S. monthly budget deficit narrowed sharply in December to $21.3 billion dollars, the lowest monthly budget deficit in two years, according to data the Treasury Department released on Wednesday.

Data from the Treasury Department shows that the lowest monthly budget deficit prior to last month was in December 2019 at $13.3 billion. The Associated Press attributed the two-year low in the monthly budget deficit to a situation in which the economy is bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic while COVID-19 relief programs have since lapsed and led to lagging spending.

Between November and December alone, the U.S. monthly budget deficit plunged roughly $170 billion.

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Some Americans have reentered the workforce as the expiration of COVID-19 relief programs sets in, though there have been some discussions regarding additional COVID-19 relief.

Some lawmakers are considering COVID-19 relief for businesses like entertainment venues, gyms and restaurants. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that Sens. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOn The Money — Support for new COVID-19 relief grows Democrats face scaled-back agenda after setbacks Momentum builds for new COVID-19 relief for businesses MORE (R-Miss.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate On The Money — Support for new COVID-19 relief grows Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE (D-Md.) are leading discussions to eventually get bipartisan support for congressional COVID-19 relief to businesses. 

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul Qatar emir to meet with Biden at White House next week White House underscores action amid violent crime streak MORE said of the reports at the time that the White House didn’t “have any new pending request or specific requests and wouldn’t predict that at this moment in time."

However, some lawmakers have opened the door to such discussions, including Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeUS budget deficit narrows sharply GOP lawmaker opens door to funding bill to combat omicron Stand-alone reconciliation must end MORE (R-Okla.), who told Bloomberg’s “Sound On” podcast during an interview last month that Congress would likely work on legislation in 2022 that would provide more resources to address the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

However, Cole stressed at the time that the effort should be bipartisan, noting that the latest COVID-19 relief package had been passed by Democrats on their own.