Auditors: Iraq Faces Budget Surplus
WASHINGTON (AP) — Iraq isn't spending much of its own money, despite soaring oil revenues that are pushing the country toward a massive budget surplus, auditors told Congress on Tuesday.
The expected surplus comes as the U.S. continues to invest billions of dollars in rebuilding Iraq and faces a financial squeeze domestically because of record oil prices.
"The Iraqis have a budget surplus," said U.S. Comptroller General David Walker. "We have a huge budget deficit. . . . One of the questions is who should be paying."
Democrats say the assessment is proof that the Iraq war as a waste of time and money. The U.S. has spent more than $45 billion on rebuilding Iraq. And while officials in Iraq contend that much progress is being made, many projects remain unfinished and U.S. troops are still needed to provide security.
"They ought to be able to use some of their oil to pay for their own costs and not keep sending the bill to the United States," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Deficit Hit Record in February
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. federal government ran a monthly budget deficit of $175.56 billion in February, a record for any month, the Treasury Department said Wednesday.
Treasury's monthly budget statement shows the February deficit was 46% bigger than the deficit of $119.99 billion in February 2007. In January, the government had a budget surplus of $17.84 billion, which was unrevised.
Outlays were $281.29 billion during February, up 17% from February 2007's $240.31 billion. Government receipts in February were $105.72 billion, down 12% from February 2007's $120.31 billion.
The February 2008 deficit figure was a bit bigger than the Congressional Budget Office's estimate of a deficit of $174 billion for the fifth month of fiscal year 2008, which began Oct. 1.
The Treasury Department said the $175.56 billion figure marked the largest deficit of any particular month in history. The previous all-time high was $119.99 billion.