The U.S. budget deficit soared in fiscal year 2023, which will likely complicate Congress’ efforts to come to a federal spending deal before government funding runs out next month.
The deficit was $1.7 trillion for the most recent fiscal year, which ended September 30, according to Treasury Department data released Friday. That marks a $320 billion, or 23%, increase from the prior fiscal year.
“We are a nation addicted to debt,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “With the economy growing and unemployment near record lows, this was the time to instill fiscal responsibility and reduce our deficits.”
The nation’s hefty debt load will become even costlier in coming years as interest payments rise.
“We are seeing in real time the painful combination of rising debt, inflation and interest costs, all leading to even more debt,” said Michael Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organization that seeks to raise awareness of the US’ long-term fiscal challenges. “Interest costs rose almost 40% last year, and soon we’ll spend more on interest than we do on national defense.”