The U.S. government deficit surpassed $1 trillion in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, over $100 billion more than the same period last year, according to official Treasury figures released Thursday.
Last week, data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the 11-month deficit had surpassed $1 trillion, but it was expected to fall back under that threshold after an expected spike in tax payments in September.
The Treasury data, however, offered no such assurances, estimating that the fiscal year would close $69 billion above the $1 trillion mark.
The growing deficit, which adds to the nation’s debt burden, raises concerns about the nation’s fiscal health. Interest on the debt has cost the U.S. $379 billion this year, more than spending on veterans benefits, education and transportation.
“Absent more responsible budgets, the deficit and interest costs will continue to grow rapidly, diminishing America’s future. The longer we wait, the more costly and difficult it will be to put our nation on a stronger path,” said Michael Peterson, CEO of the fiscally conservative Peterson Foundation.
The CBO has called the nation’s fiscal path “unsustainable,” warning that it may make it more difficult to combat future recessions and could potentially set up a financial crisis down the road.
The main drivers of the deficit are mandatory spending programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, though recent tax cuts and increases to discretionary spending have also widened the spending gap.
Although the deficit has ballooned under President Trump’s watch – up from $587 billion in 2016 – Republicans have continued to speak out about the issue.
“This can’t continue…” former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley tweeted Thursday alongside an article about the deficit.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also told reporters at a GOP retreat in Baltimore that tackling the deficit would be his top priority if Republicans take back the House and he becomes Speaker.
Former Rep. Mark Sanford (R), who is mounting a long-shot primary challenge to Trump, excoriated the president over his fiscal record.
“The President’s propensity to dismiss our deteriorating financial position is dangerous, and these threats are underscored by the U.S. Treasury numbers,” he said in a statement.
A decade of projected trillion-dollar deficits, he added, was unprecedented in peacetime.