Deficit balloons to $356.6 billion in first quarter of fiscal year

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump give candy to children during a Halloween trick-or-treat event at the White House Sunday Oct. 28 2018 in Washington

Federal Budget Deficit Fell in December 7AP

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, which began on October 1, the deficit grew 12% over last year.

Some have noted that if it wasn't for the $21 billion in customs duties, mostly collected from China as a result of the trade war between the world's two largest economies, the cumulative budget deficit through December would be even worse than it was in 2011 when the U.S. was still dealing with the consequences of the financial crisis.

That compared to a budget deficit of $13.5 billion in the same month the year earlier, according to the Treasury's monthly budget statement.

In its monthly budget report, the Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit from October through December totaled $356.6 billion, up from $318.9 billion for the same period a year ago.

The deficit - the gap between how much the government spends versus how much it takes in - increased to $357 billion in the first three months of the fiscal year as military spending and health care costs continued to eclipse federal tax receipts.

The Congressional Budget Office is projecting that the deficit for the current 2020 budget year will hit $1 trillion and will remain over $1 trillion for the next decade. The country has not experienced $1 trillion annual deficits since the period from 2009 through 2012 following the 2008 financial crisis.

Why it matters: The deficit, which President Trump pledged in 2016 to eliminate within eight years, is on pace to exceed $1 trillion by the end of 2020.

Latest News