New estimate puts deficit at more than $1.84 trillion

The White House on Monday projected that the fiscal 2009 budget deficit would top $1.841 trillion, nearly $90 billion more than the $1.752 trillion estimated in February. The estimate came in the final installment of the administration's fiscal 2010 budget proposal, which attributed the increase to the weak economy, the drop in tax receipts and government efforts to stimulate the economy.

The revised deficit comes to 12.9 percent of gross domestic product. The administration put the fiscal 2010 budget deficit at $1.258 trillion, or 8.5 percent of GDP. The White House estimated in February the fiscal 2010 deficit would top $1.171 trillion, or 8 percent of GDP. Total receipts in fiscal 2009 were estimated to be $2.156 trillion, a reduction of $367.7 billion, or 14.6 percent down from the previous year.

The decline was due to lower personal income and corporate profit and the corresponding drop in payroll, individual and corporation tax receipts. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said the increased deficit projections point to need for the federal government to help turn around the souring economy. "It took eight years for the previous administration to dig this hole. It is going to take time to climb our way out," said Conrad. He reiterated that the Democrats' budget will trim the deficit to 3 percent of GDP by 2014.

Republicans said the White House's budget proposal, which includes overhauling healthcare and implementing a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions, would add to the debt at an unprecedented rate. "With Democrats in Congress adding to the national debt at a rate of more than $100 billion every month, and with a budget that triples the already unsustainable public debt over the next decade, it's clear that there is much more that we can do to protect our children and grandchildren from the unprecedented trillions in additional debt proposed by the administration," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement. He added the projections for the deficit grew five times faster than the $17 billion in program cuts and eliminations Obama proposed last week.

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