Economy: U.S. deficit fell to $1.4T for 2022


WASHINGTON >> The federal budget deficit fell to $1.4 trillion for the 2022 calendar year, down from $2.6 trillion a year ago, as pandemic emergency spending slowed, the economy reopened and tax revenue rose, according to the Treasury Department.

Though the annual gap between what the nation spends and what it takes in narrowed, the monthly deficit for December widened compared with a year ago, suggesting that the deficit most likely will grow again in the year to come. The federal government recorded an $85 billion shortfall last month, up from a $21 billion deficit in December 2021.

The figures released Thursday come at a moment of heightened attention on the nation’s finances, with Republicans, who now control the House, pledging to push for deep spending cuts and to slash the national debt. Despite the smaller annual shortfall, the United States’ long-term fiscal picture has darkened somewhat in the past year. The national debt topped $31 trillion for the first time in 2022 and interest rates are rising, increasing the amount of money the United States must pay to investors who buy its debt.

Republicans have made it clear that they will make balancing the federal budget and reducing the national debt a central focus of their economic agenda this year.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy said this week that Republicans would use their leverage, including the need to raise the country’s debt limit later this year, to corral spending.

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