Budget Deficit Hits Record $1.4T in 2009

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The federal budget deficit has tripled, hitting a record $1.4 trillion for the 2009 fiscal year.

The Congressional Budget Office estimate comes at a bad time for Washington Democrats as they strive to push forward with health care reform legislation that could cost as much as $900 billion over the next 10 years.

Although President Barack Obama's health plan would be paid for with new revenues and curbs in spending, the overhaul effort would consume tax hikes and spending cuts that could be used to reduce the deficit.

Congressional analysts point to a big drop in tax revenue as one of the causes for the sky-high deficit.
    
In addition, they blamed the $245 billion spent bailing out Wall Street and the mortgage giants. They also made note of President Obama's $200 billion stimulus bill.  Republicans wasted little time expressing their displeasure over the new data.

"This new CBO data makes it clear that our children and grandchildren will end up buried under a mountain of debt if we continue taxing, spending and borrowing at these dangerous levels," House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

"How many alarm bells have to be set off before Washington Democrats get serious about tackling dangerous budget deficits?" he said. 

Democrats pointed out that the deficit issue was an inheritance from the previous administration, but acknowledged they had no choice but to tackle the problem. 

"It should be remembered that fiscal year 2009 began during the Bush administration, which left in its wake the worst recession since the 1930s, including a sharp plunge in revenues," said Rep. John Spratt Jr., D-S.C., chairman of the House Budget Committee.

"But today's figures send us the latest alarm. As the economy stabilizes and starts to recover, we will have to turn our focus back to deficit reduction," he said.

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