WASHINGTON (AP) -- After the Bush administration announced that a $159 billion federal deficit has ended four straight years of surpluses, both parties immediately tried using the news to their advantage.
The White House released the figure on Thursday, blaming the red ink on the faltering economy and deflated stock market, which caused a dip in federal revenue, and on the costs of battling terrorism.
"Together, these events created a deficit," said Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. "But going forward, I am confident that we are on the road to recovery and stability."
With deficits back, "It is absolutely essential that we set aside business as usual and keep tight control over all other spending," said White House budget chief Mitchell Daniels.
Democrats tried to blame the fiscal turnabout on Republicans. They have long blamed the budget's decline -- especially in the long term -- on the 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut President Bush won from Congress last year.
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