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Over a year, the federal deficit — the gap between what the U.S. government spends and what it earns — has doubled, to nearly $2 trillion.

That figure seems to validate the worries of congressional Republicans about government spending, which have been at the center of the messy fight over who should be House speaker.

Jim Tankersley,who covers economic policy at the White House for The Times, explains the Republicans’ concerns — and why their plans would not come close to solving the problem.

On today’s episode

Jim Tankersley, an economic policy correspondent for The New York Times.


The government spent about $711 billion last year to pay interest on the national debt.Credit…Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times

Background reading

The U.S. deficit effectively doubled in 2023.

This is why the federal deficit is growing.

There are a lot of ways to listen to The Daily. Here’s how.

We aim to make transcripts available the next workday after an episode’s publication. You can find them at the top of the page.

Jim Tankersley contributed reporting.

The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky, John Ketchum, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexie Diao, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Dan Farrell, Sophia Lanman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Summer Thomad, Olivia Natt, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg.

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