The U.S. government’s deficit in the first three months of the budget year was a record-breaking $572.9 billion, 60.7% higher than the same period a year ago, as spending to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic pushed outlays up while revenue declined.
The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that with three months gone in the budget year, the deficit was $216.3 billion higher than the same October-December period a year ago.
The deficit, the shortfall between what the government collects in taxes and what it spends, reflects an 18.3% jump in outlays to $1.38 trillion, a record for the period, while revenues fell 0.4% to $803.37 billion.
The deficit for the 2020 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, climbed to an all-time high of $3.1 trillion. Beginning in the spring, Congress passed trillion-dollar-plus spending measures to combat the harm being done to the economy from a pandemic-induced downturn.
The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it will halt imports of cotton and tomatoes from the Uighur region of China in its most sweeping action yet to pressure the Communist Party to stop a campaign against ethnic minorities.
Officials said U.S. Customs and Border Protection will use its authority to block products suspected of being produced with forced labor in the Xinjiang region of northwest China.
The region is a major global supplier of cotton, so the order could have significant effects on global commerce. The Trump administration has already blocked imports from individual companies linked to forced labor in Xinjiang.
China has imprisoned more than 1 million people, including Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, in a vast network of concentration camps. People have been subjected to torture, forced sterilization and political indoctrination in addition to forced labor as part of an assimilation campaign in a region whose inhabitants are ethnically and culturally distinct from the Han Chinese majority.
Seattle-based Amazon.com, Inc. has asked a federal judge to deny a request to reinstate the cloud-service account for conservative social media network Parler, claiming it shrugged off police violence content on its site before and after the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol.
Amazon’s lawyers made the claim Tuesday, a day after Parler on Monday filed a lawsuit against Amazon claiming a breach of contract and antitrust violation after its account was suspended and effectively removed from the internet, The Seattle Times reported.
Parler’s lawsuit claims that Amazon colluded with Twitter to “kill Parler’s business — at the very time it is set to skyrocket,” the complaint said.
Amazon’s attorneys said there was no merit to Parler’s claims and that the case centered on Parler’s “demonstrated unwillingness” to remove content that threatens public safety.
Amazon argued that Parler’s lack of content moderation led to a “steady increase” in violent content, a violation of its terms of service.