The federal budget deficit was $738 billion in the first four months of fiscal year 2021, the Congressional Budget Office estimates—$348 billion more than the deficit recorded during the same period last year. Outlays were 23 percent higher and revenues were 1 percent higher from October through January than during the same perod in fiscal year 2020.
Outlays during the first four months of fiscal year 2020 were boosted by shifts in the timing of certain payments that otherwise would have been due at the beginning of February 2020, which fell on a weekend. Those shifts increased outlays through January 2020 by $55 billion. If not for those shifts, the deficit this year (through January 2021) would have been more than twice the $335 billion shortfall during the same period in fiscal year 2020. That substantial difference is largely the result of the economic disruption caused by the 2020–2021 coronavirus pandemic and the federal government’s response to it.