The federal budget deficit topped $1 trillion for the first five months of the fiscal year, as the United States recorded red ink at a record clip while trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Treasury Department figures released on Wednesday showed a shortfall of $1.04 trillion from October of last year through February. That was far higher than the $624 billion deficit the United States notched in the first part of 2020, before the pandemic set in.
The monthly deficit in February was $311 billion and reflected outlays associated with the $900 billion relief bill that Congress passed last December, which included $600 stimulus payments, expanded jobless benefits and small-business loan money. In February, the government spent $559 billion and took in $248 billion in tax revenue.
The Congressional Budget Office projected in February that the federal budget deficit will hit $2.3 trillion this year. Those numbers do not account for the $1.9 trillion relief package that Congress passed on Wednesday, which the C.B.O. estimates will add that amount to the deficit over the next 10 years.
Republicans in Congress have been expressing growing concern about the nation’s debt burden as they look to resist the Democrats’ policy agenda.
Once the stimulus package is enacted, the White House is expected to push a costly infrastructure bill that it hopes will pass later this year.
The United States recorded a record $3.1 trillion deficit in 2020 and is on pace to top that in 2021.
The Justice Department has appointed Ken Feinberg’s law firm to oversee distribution of a $500 million compensation fund for the families of those killed in a pair of crashes of Boeing’s 737 Max jet, the firm said on Wednesday.
“We are pleased that the Department of Justice chose us to do this work and we think we are well placed based on our experience in the design and implementation of these funds over the past 25 to 30 years,” Camille Biros, the law firm’s president, said Wednesday.
Mr. Feinberg’s firm has developed a specialty in administering such funds, including those for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Boeing had previously appointed Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros to oversee distribution of $100 million in compensation following the crashes in late 2018 and early 2019, in which a total of 346 people were killed.
The Feinberg firm has finished the distribution of those funds, work that will give it a head start on its new assignment, Ms. Biros said. The $500 million fund was established as part of a $2.5 billion January settlement between Boeing and the federal government. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the appointment.
The news, first reported by Reuters, came on the two-year anniversary of the second Max crash, in Ethiopia. To mark the milestone, the families of the 157 people killed in that accident planned vigils and protests throughout the day. Some also met with the transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, to share their lingering safety concerns over the Max, which recently started flying again after a nearly two-year grounding.
Facebook on Wednesday asked a federal court to dismiss antitrust lawsuits brought by federal and state regulators, saying the suits failed to prove the company was a monopoly and harmed competition.
In a filing with the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, Facebook argued that it faced ample competition and that the Federal Trade Commission and 48 attorneys general from states and territories could not prove the company has harmed consumers.
“Antitrust laws are intended to promote competition and protect consumers,” Facebook said in a blog post. “These complaints do not credibly claim that our conduct harmed either.”
Facebook’s motion to the court is its first legal statement in what is expected to be a yearslong court battle over the power of the company and its future. Last December, the F.T.C. and attorneys general filed lawsuits…