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CBO: Federal budget deficit rises to $668 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government ran a $668 billion budget deficit for the just-completed 2017 fiscal year, according to a new government report. That's $82 billion more red ink than the government produced last year.

The Congressional Budget Office based its findings on preliminary Treasury reports.

The worsening deficit picture comes as Congress digs into its pockets for tens of billions of dollars more for hurricane relief. Lawmakers are also working toward a round of tax cuts that could add $1.5 trillion in debt over 10 years on top of already grim projections.

Washington isn't focusing much on the deficit these days, following the lead of President Donald Trump. The president has ruled out cuts to big benefit programs that drive the deficit's growth, and Congress has rejected most of Trump's other spending cuts.

The national debt is $20 trillion and CBO projects it would grow to about $30 trillion within 10 years. Many analysts, including CBO, worry that the nation's deficit path is unsustainable and will harm the economy by sopping up investment and pushing up interest rates.

Republicans controlling Congress are working on companion nonbinding budget plans that promise sharp spending cuts and shrinking deficits, but they aren't likely to actually try to carry out the cuts. Instead, the GOP budgets are aimed chiefly at easing the way for follow-up legislation to overhaul the tax code.

Treasury will issue the official deficit figures in a week or two.

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