Federal borrowing soars as deficit fear fades

WASHINGTON—Borrowing by the federal government is set to top $1 trillion for the second year in a row as higher spending outpaces revenue growth and concern about budget deficits wanes in Washington and on Wall Street.

The Treasury Department said Monday it expects to issue $814 billion in net marketable debt in the second half of this calendar year, bringing total debt issuance to $1.23 trillion in 2019. That would represent a slight decline from borrowing in 2018, when the Treasury issued $1.34 trillion in debt—more than twice as much as the $546 billion it issued in 2017.

The budget gap for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30 is on course to exceed $1 trillion, following the 2017 tax cuts that constrained federal revenue and a previous two-year budget deal that raised spending nearly $300 billion above spending caps Congress enacted in 2011.

The new budget agreement congressional leaders announced last week effectively pushed the issue of government spending off until after the 2020 election.

Concerns about rising deficits and debt have been absent from the presidential campaign trail, in contrast to previous election cycles.

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