On The Money: Deficit to reach record $3.3 trillion | Senate Democrats push to overturn Trump's payroll-tax deferral | Private sector adds 428K workers in August as job growth slows

On The Money: Deficit to reach record $3.3 trillion | Senate Democrats push to overturn Trump's payroll-tax deferral | Private sector adds 428K workers in August as job growth slows
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Happy Wednesday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Deficit to reach record $3.3 trillion: CBO: The federal deficit is expected to reach a record $3.3 trillion this year, more than twice the largest level on record, but lower than earlier estimates, according to new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections.

  • The deficit will amount to 16 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the largest since 1945.
  • The explosion in the deficit follows a massive government response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic devastation it caused.
  • The report released Wednesday also found that the nation's debt burden is on track to surpass 100 percent of GDP for the first time since World War II in 2021 but remain at 98 percent this year, another retreat from some earlier estimates.

The Hill’s Niv Elis breaks down the data here.

The takeaway: While there's no particular economic significance to having the amount a government owes its creditors exceed its total production for the year, it marks a notable milestone and a dire issue in the view of debt hawks.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said that Congress will need to figure out how to handle the growing debt burden once the pandemic is over and the economy rebounds.

"What should be absolutely clear from today’s report is that after the virus is contained and the economy has recovered, lawmakers cannot afford to continue ignoring the trajectory of our debt any longer," she said.


Read more: The Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance fund, which pays out retirement benefits, is on track to run out in 2031 as the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll, according to a Wednesday report by the Congressional Budget Office.


Senate Democrats push to overturn Trump's payroll-tax deferral: Senate Democrats on Wednesday took a step toward forcing a vote on overturning President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE's payroll-tax deferral.

In a letter sent to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerGraham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  MORE (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenPlaintiff and defendant from Obergefell v. Hodges unite to oppose Barrett's confirmation Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing House Democrats slam FCC chairman over 'blatant attempt to help' Trump MORE (D-Ore.) asked for an expedited determination about whether the Treasury Department and IRS's guidance implementing the payroll-tax deferral is a "rule" for purposes of the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

What it does: Under the CRA, Congress can vote on measures to disapprove of recently issued rules produced by federal agencies. Asking the GAO to weigh in on whether it’s a formal rule will clear up whether the Democrats can try to repeal it through the CRA. 

"This expedited review and determination by GAO is critical and will allow us to move forward with the CRA process and ultimately protect lower and middle-income Americans’ hard-earned wages and retirees’ Social Security benefits from Trump's plan and we hope every Senator will support this effort,” the senators said in a statement.

The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda explains here.

Read more: Democrats seek clarity on payroll tax deferral for federal workers

Private sector adds 428K workers in August as job growth slows: ADP: U.S. nonfarm private-sector businesses added 428,000 workers in August, according to the monthly private payrolls report from the ADP Research Institute, falling well short of economists’ expectations.

  • The report, released two days before the federal government’s August jobs report on Friday, showed another month of slowing job gains driven in part by the increase of coronavirus cases earlier this summer and dwindling fiscal support.
  • Economists had expected the ADP report to show a gain of roughly 1 million jobs for private-sector businesses in August.

“The August job postings demonstrate a slow recovery,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Job gains are minimal, and businesses across all sizes and sectors have yet to come close to their pre-COVID-19 employment levels.”

I break it down here.


  • Business groups across industries are becoming increasingly nervous about a potential Democratic sweep in November leading to the elimination of the legislative filibuster.
  • Amtrak is set to cut just over 2,000 employees amid the decline in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • United Airlines also announced on Wednesday that it plans to cut 16,370 employees in October when the federal aid that carriers received expires.