Trump promised to eliminate America's budget deficit. But government spending just pushed the 12-month total past $1 trillion for the 2nd straight month.

gheeb@businessinsider.com (Gina Heeb)
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  • The US budget deficit swelled in November as Washington continued to spend more than it collected in revenue.
  • The 12-month deficit came in above $1 trillion for a second month in a row.
  • Lawmakers typically have more tools to reduce the national debt when the economy is in a solid place, but recent legislation has taken it the opposite direction.
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The US budget deficit swelled in November as Washington continued to spend more than it collected in revenue despite solid economic growth.

The gap between federal expenditures and receipts grew to $209 billion last month, the Treasury Department said in its monthly budget statement on Wednesday. In the same month last year, the government budget deficit was $205 billion.

The 12-month deficit came in above $1 trillion for the second month in a row. Since the start of the fiscal year in October, the gap has grown by 12%.

Receipts increased by 3% in that period, to $471 billion, partly because of calendar quirks that shifted the timing of payments. Outlays rose by 7%, to $814 billion, boosted by healthcare and retirement programs.

Lawmakers typically have more tools to reduce the national debt when the economy is in a solid place. As a candidate in 2016, President Donald Trump promised to eliminate the deficit within eight years.

But it has continued to jump in the wake of recent legislation, including $1.5 trillion tax cuts that the president signed into law after his first year in office.

The GOP had initially argued that lower taxes would lift the economy enough to make up for the loss in federal revenue. But key Republicans have since walked back the long-standing claim that the 2017 package would pay for itself.

A bipartisan budget agreement reached in August lifted the debt ceiling and increased spending by about $320 billion. That would amount to a $1.7 trillion increase in projected debt levels over the next decade, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated.

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