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Friday, May 7, 2021

The government deficit is at its highest point in history, and everything else you need to know today

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Good morning. Here’s what you need to know:

1. The budget deficit hit $3.1 trillion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. It was the largest deficit in history by a wide margin. A year ago, it was $779 billion, the smallest deficit on record.

2. The deficit includes spending for welfare programs, including food stamps, and entitlement programs. Interest on the debt accounted for about 58 percent of the budget deficit in the current fiscal year.

3. In the full fiscal year, the government borrowed $5.7 trillion from the private sector. For the current fiscal year, the Treasury expects to borrow $6.7 trillion.

4. The Senate approved a Republican version of a budget bill late Tuesday night that is intended to guide tax legislation and could pave the way for Congress to increase the country’s debt limit before the end of the year.

5. Republicans will be huddling at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the final version of the budget plan.

6. Tax cuts are expected to reduce the deficit over time, but whether that occurs depends on how big a deficit reduction package Republicans approve.

7. Democrats criticized the budget plan as wasteful spending that would boost government spending. Republicans said Democrats were eager to make cuts in social services, potentially raising the deficit.

8. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a group of governors on Tuesday that the country’s borrowing would exceed the limit again before too long, the Financial Times reported.

9. The Treasury Department began issuing $21 billion in notes and bonds on Tuesday that are likely to serve as collateral to reassure investors that the government has enough cash to pay its bills.

10. The United States is facing a shortfall in its defense budget next year. The annual defense cap for the 2019 fiscal year is $549 billion, which includes $165 billion for military operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere. If Congress does not approve a separate war funding measure, the Pentagon will be required to spend $6.6 billion less than it would like to on that spending.

11. The monthly jobs report for September, the last major piece of economic data released before the election, showed a healthy job growth trend.

12. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Wall Street on Tuesday and said his approach to business represented the best interests of his supporters.

13. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had a cameo role on “Saturday Night Live” to promote her documentary “The Assault on Truth and Democracy,” which chronicles Russian interference in the 2016 election.

14. Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a Republican, will deliver the keynote address at the Heritage Foundation, the influential conservative think tank, on Wednesday.

15. Senate Democrats asked the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to investigate the treatment of immigrants housed at immigration detention centers.

16. Republicans on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee voted on Tuesday to approve a proposal by Thom Tillis of North Carolina to shift billions of dollars in federal funding for veterans services to the Department of Health and Human Services, which runs the country’s largest veterans health system.

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