The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is projecting the federal budget deficit will reach at least 337 (b) billion dollars for the current year.
It also says deficit is likely to go higher because of tax cuts and new additional spending for hurricane relief and the war in Iraq.
The estimate is lower than predicted by the White House budget office. Two weeks ago the White House said the 2006 deficit would top 400 (b) billion dollars, in part because of emergency aid for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The figures were released to The Associated Press by a congressional aide, in advance of their official release.
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