US budget deficit nearly doubles in December from year ago

MarketsAssociated Press

The U.S. federal government's budget deficit rose from a year earlier for the second straight month, the latest sign of a rising financing gap.

The Treasury Department says the December budget deficit was $27.5 billion, nearly double the $14 billion in December 2015. In the first three months of the government's budget year, the deficit is slightly below last year's total. But adjusting for calendar quirks that moved some large benefit payments into September, the deficit has worsened in the past three months.

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The adjusted deficit for October through December was $230 billion, up by nearly one-third from $174 billion a year ago. The federal government's largest health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, saw spending increase 5 percent and 6 percent, respectively.