By Kate Davidson 

WASHINGTON -- The federal deficit more than tripled in the first 10 months of the fiscal year, as government spending to combat the coronavirus continued to outpace federal tax collection, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.

The U.S. budget gap totaled $2.8 trillion from October through July, 224% bigger than the $867 billion gap during the same period a year earlier. The government has spent $5.6 trillion so far in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 51% more than a year earlier, fueled in large part by the economic relief legislation Congress enacted in March to keep households and businesses afloat during the pandemic.

Total receipts for the fiscal year are down just 1%, totaling $2.8 trillion, thanks to an influx of revenue last month as individuals and corporations made tax payments that the government had delayed in April and June. Those figures mostly reflect revenue based on income and business activity from before the pandemic, and are likely to shrink in the months ahead as the economy slowly emerges from a deep downturn that led to widespread business closures and millions of layoffs.

Federal spending has soared after Congress approved trillions in economic relief measures, including enhanced unemployment benefits, stimulus checks for households and emergency small-business loans. That spending began to taper off last month: Outlays totaled $626 billion, 70% more than July 2019 but about half of what they were in June, when the government issued billions in emergency loans to small businesses.

Write to Kate Davidson at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 12, 2020 14:14 ET (18:14 GMT)

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