ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports:
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office today predicted that this year’s federal budget deficit will come in at $1.5 trillion, a new record.
“For 2011, the Congressional Budget Office projects that if current laws remain unchanged, the federal budget will show a deficit of close to $1.5 trillion, or 9.8 percent of GDP,” the CBO said in a new report.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad called the projections a “wake-up call to the nation.”
“CBO’s report should be another wake-up call to the nation,” Conrad said in a paper statement. “In the near-term, due to passage of the tax extension package and the slow pace of the economic recovery, CBO is now expecting to see deficits of more than $1 trillion a year continuing through at least 2012. And as disturbing as those near-term deficits are, the long-term outlook is even worse. It is the deteriorating long-term outlook that is the biggest threat to the country’s economic security.”
“The fiscal challenge confronting us is enormous,” Conrad said. “To solve this problem, it will require real compromise and a great deal of political will. We need everyone at the table. And we need to have both sides, Democrats and Republicans, willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground. We can’t continue to put this off. We need to reach an agreement this year. The President’s Fiscal Commission provided a model for a bipartisan way forward. Now it is up to the Administration and members on both sides of the aisle in Congress to come together to finish the job.”
On the jobs front, CBO projected that the unemployment rate will fall to 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.