Rising tax receipts are helping shrink the federal deficit to less than half what it was a couple of years ago. And that will shape the debate when Congress decides next month whether to continue, end or modify tens of billions of dollars in automatic government spending cuts.
Federal tax receipts through June are up 14 percent over last year. July figures come out next week, and the numbers for August will be published after Congress returns from its summer break on September 9.
Some economists worry that higher tax revenue and the shrinking deficit will relieve pressure on policymakers to continue addressing the nation's long-term debt problem. A temporary resolution is likely by September 30, when the government will run out of operating money unless Congress provides it.
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