Federal deficit soared to $3.1 trillion for fiscal 2020 thanks to pandemic relief spending

The federal government’s deficit for fiscal 2020 was $3.1 trillion, the highest deficit on record, the Treasury reported Friday.

The previous record was set in 2009, during the Great Recession, when the deficit totaled $1.42 trillion.

The deficit for fiscal 2020, which ended on Sept. 30, was far higher than expected at the beginning of the year and much larger than the $984 billion deficit the year before.

The spike in red ink is due to the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Congress passed four major pieces of legislation that provided assistance to workers and families, small businesses, and
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