The federal deficit increased through the first quarter of fiscal 2016 to $212 billion, the Congressional Budget Office reported Friday.
The shortfall was $36 billion larger than the one recorded at the same point the previous year, according to the CBO, which is Congress' in-house, nonpartisan budget agency.
In December, the month for which the CBO has new data, the deficit was $11 billion, up from $2 billion the previous year.
Revenue grew 4 percent over the past year, but spending grew even faster, by 7 percent.
Individual tax revenue grew by 5 percent, growth the CBO attributes to faster income growth. Corporate income taxes fell, but that is likely because of shifts in timing of taxes paid throughout the year because of major tax changes made in the spending and tax deal passed by Congress last month and another tax bill passed in December 2014. Payments from the Federal Reserve to the Treasury also shot up, thanks to a provision in recent legislation that tapped Fed funds to pay for highway spending.
On the spending side, government outlays were up because of the larger number of Social Security beneficiaries. Unexpected drug costs also drove up costs for Medicare, while new Obamacare enrollees led to an increase in spending on health insurance through Medicaid, the low-income health insurance program run jointly by the states and the federal government.
Falling profits at the bailed-out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also generated higher spending, through complicated bookkeeping related to those businesses.
In its most recent projections in August, the CBO estimated the budget deficit to fall to $414 billion in 2016, down from $439 billion in 2015. The agency announced that it would release new projections Jan. 25.
The deficit has fallen from more than $1 trillion in the wake of the financial crisis to successive lows in recent years. It is expected to begin growing again, however, in fiscal 2017, according to the CBO's projections.