WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal government ran a lower deficit this July than a year ago, keeping it on course to record the lowest deficit in six years.<br />
The July deficit was $94.6 billion, an improvement of 3.1 percent from a year ago, the Treasury Department reported Tuesday in its monthly budget statement.<br />
For the first 10 months of this budget year, the deficit totals $460.5 billion, down 24.2 percent from the same period a year ago.<br />
The Congressional Budget Office expects this year's deficit to total around $500 billion, down from $680.2 billion last year. That would be the lowest deficit since an imbalance of $458.6 billion in 2008, which was a record at the time. The Great Recession and efforts to deal with the financial crisis sent deficits above $1 trillion for four straight years.<br />
The July imbalance followed a $70.5 billion surplus in June, a month when government coffers are swelled by quarterly tax payments. But without the quarterly payments, the government ran a deficit in July, a month when it has recorded deficits in 58 of the last 60 years.<br />
The yearly deficit peaked at $1.4 trillion in 2009 and remained above $1 trillion for each of the next three years, finally falling to $680.2 billion last year.
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
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