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US deficit may exceed $1 trillion for year

WASHINGTON — The US budget deficit grew by nearly $60 billion in June, remaining on track to exceed $1 trillion for a fourth straight year.

Through the first nine months of the budget year, the deficit totaled $904.2 billion, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.

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President Obama and Republicans remain at odds over how to lower the deficit — disagreeing on how much to spend, where to cut, and whether tax increases should be on the table.

The gridlock has left a package of expiring tax cuts and scheduled spending increases in limbo, another threat to an already weak US economy.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts the deficit for the full year, which ends on Sept. 30, will total $1.17 trillion. That would be a slight improvement from the $1.3 trillion deficit recorded in 2011, but still greater than any deficit before Obama took office.

One positive sign this year is that the deficit is growing more slowly than last year.

In June it was 6.8 percent behind the pace for the same period in budget year 2011. Tax revenues are up 5.2 percent this year, while spending is down by 0.9 percent.

But the modest improvement has not cooled the budget debate in Washington.

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