US Treasury seeks to borrow a record $3 trillion this quarter

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Massive stimulus to support the U.S. economy through the coronavirus crisis will cause the Treasury to borrow a record $3 trillion this quarter.

The department on Monday announced the total, which is actually $2.999 trillion.

“The increase in privately-held net marketable borrowing is primarily driven by the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, including expenditures from new legislation to assist individuals and businesses, changes to tax receipts including the deferral of individual and business taxes from April – June until July, and an increase in the assumed end-of-June Treasury cash balance,” the department said in a statement.

On top of that borrowing, the Treasury also said it anticipates another $677 billion in the third quarter. First-quarter borrowing totaled $477 billion.

The red ink comes thanks to multiple stimulus efforts Congress has passed to resuscitate an economy brought to a standstill amid social distancing efforts to halt the virus spread. Allocations thus far have totaled more than $2 trillion, and at last one more package is expected to help the more than 30 million Americans who have hit the unemployment line as well as thousands of other businesses that have seen their revenue streams evaporate.

The Treasury Department also is backstopping several lending programs for the Federal Reserve, which is leveraging Treasury guarantees in programs aimed at providing another $2.2 trillion in funding to businesses and households.

Just since March 1, the national debt has grown by $1.5 trillion to $24.9 trillion, a 6.4% increase. The budget deficit through March, or the first six months of the fiscal year, totaled $744 billion, on pace to easily eclipse the biggest shortfall in U.S. history.

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