Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

CBO Reports $658 Billion Deficit for March

Apr 8, 2021 | Budgets & Projections

For Immediate Release

The United States’ budget deficit for March totaled $658 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It is the third largest monthly deficit in history, behind June and April of last year. It was driven in large part by the distribution of approximately $325 billion of the $1,400 stimulus checks authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act. We project this year’s deficit will reach $3.4 trillion, breaking last year’s record of $3.1 trillion and pushing the national debt to a record 108 percent of GDP. Below is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn called for a fast, large response from Congress. We’ve met that challenge and then some, so with a strong recovery on the horizon and an unprecedented amount of money in the pipeline, lawmakers need to turn off the borrowing spigot.

While much of the deficit spending during this crisis was justified, the latest package was arguably twice as large as it needed to be and not as well targeted as the other relief packages. Some of the stimulus checks this round went to households earning six figures who lost no income or may have seen their wages increase.

As more money from the American Rescue Plan flows into the economy and vaccinations accelerate, lawmakers need to resist old habits of adding to the deficit. The White House says it wants to pay for its latest spending plan, and that should be a requirement for passing an infrastructure package.


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