April's U.S. budget surplus was bigger than a year ago and the federal government ran a much smaller deficit in the first seven months of the current fiscal year than the previous year, the Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.
The nonpartisan office projected the budget surplus in April to be $112 billion, $52 billion more than the surplus a year ago. That increase would have been even larger if not for a quirk in the calendar last year, CBO said.
The deficit from October 2012 through April 2013 was $489 billion, in contrast with $720 billion over the same period a year earlier.
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The numbers point to improving fiscal health and will be a factor in budget battles between the White House and congressional Republicans.
The administration and Republican lawmakers both seek a broad deal to cut the budget deficit, but clash over the president's insistence that any reductions in spending on health and retirement programs be offset with higher taxes.