US borrowed $1.2 trillion in past 8 months: CBO


The federal government has borrowed roughly $1.2 trillion in the eight-month period ending in May, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in a report on Monday.

The nonpartisan budget scorekeeper said the figure marked $38 billion above the federal budget deficit recorded during the same period in fiscal year 2023.

Total outlays were up 8 percent in the past eight months, reaching $4.5 trillion, as the CBO noted a 42 percent increase in net outlays for interest on the public debt. The percentage represents an estimated $185 billion increase over the same period in fiscal 2023; the office pointed to rising interest rates as a key contributor.

Spending for programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid jumped 6 percent on net during the same time frame, amounting to a $117 billion increase, the CBO estimated. 

Medicare was projected to have seen the biggest bump, as outlays rose 10 percent, or $51 billion, in a large part due to “increased benefit payments to Medicare Advantage plans,” the CBO said. Spending for Social Security benefits rose 8 percent, or $74 billion, following a rise in beneficiaries and average benefit payments.

At the same time, however, Medicaid outlays dipped 2 percent, or by $8 billion, as the CBO said, “states continue to reassess the eligibility of enrollees who remained in the program for the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency.”

Other areas that saw spending jumps included defense programs and veterans services. The CBO estimated spending for the Department of Defense jumped 8 percent, or $39 billion, in the past eight months, while noting “the largest increase was for military personnel.” Spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs also rose 14 percent, or by $27 billion, which the office said was “mostly because of increased spending per person and veterans’ increased use of health care facilities.”

The Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service were among the agencies and programs that saw notable projected decreases in outlays, as the CBO estimated a 20 percent drop in outlays in both categories.

Total receipts were also estimated to have risen by 10 percent, reaching $3.3 trillion in the past eight months, as individual income and payroll taxes have also risen. The figure is up $294 billion from the same period in fiscal year 2023.

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