April 12 (UPI) -- The United States spent nearly $660 billion more than it collected in revenues during March and its 2021 deficit surged to $1.7 trillion due to pandemic stimulus spending, officials reported Monday.
The U.S. Treasury's monthly report on the government's receipts and outlays showed red ink of $659.6 billion in March -- the third-biggest monthly deficit in the country's history.
Meanwhile, the total deficit of $1.7 trillion during the first half of fiscal year 2021 nearly doubled the previous six-month record of $829 billion set 10 years ago. It was 130% higher than last year's figure, the report showed.
The March deficit was driven primarily by $453 billion disbursed through $1,400 pandemic stimulus payments sent to U.S. taxpayers. The United States spent a total of $927 billion during the month as President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan took effect, the Treasury reported.
Tax revenues rose 13% over March 2020 to $267.6 billion, indicating the economy is continuing to recover from the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Administration officials told reporters that high monthly deficits will likely continue for the rest of the year as the pandemic stimulus efforts continue to be implemented.