by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Federal tax receipts hit a record high for the first seven months of the fiscal year, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. But that was not enough to offset growth in mandatory federal spending programs.
Receipts hit $1.9 trillion for the period ending April 30, according to the agency’s Monthly Budget Review released on Friday, up $25 billion over the same period in 2015. The federal deficit stood at $352 billion, $69 billion more than the shortfall recorded during the same time last year.
At $2.27 trillion, federal outlays are up by four percent for the fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. The CBO said the largest increases in spending were accounted for by mandatory spending programs that include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the national debt, which account for about two-thirds of the federal budget.
The CBO reported that discretionary spending notably decreased by $15 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and by $8 billion for the Federal Communications Commission.
The CBO in January estimated that last year’s budget deal inked between President Obama and congressional leaders would send the deficit slightly above the half-trillion mark by the end of fiscal 2016. Federal spending for the year is projected to reach a total of $3.9 trillion, compared to $3.4 trillion in planned revenue.