WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) --
The U.S. government's budget watchdogs said the fiscal 2012 year included a $1.1 trillion deficit and that from here on out there are two principle scenarios.
If the budget hits the so-called "fiscal cliff" in which political gridlock leads to automatic spending cuts and tax hikes, next year's deficit would be $641 billion and that would decline to a $387 billion budget gap for 2014, the Congressional Budget Office said.
On the other hand, The Hill newspaper reported, if Congress avoids the fiscal cliff, the next two years would see deficits of $1.03 trillion and $924 billion, consecutively.
The budget deficit and the national debt were significant topics of discussion in the first presidential campaign debate.
Republican candidate former Gov. Mitt Romney went on the offensive, claiming inaccurately that President Barack Obama had doubled the annual shortfall, the Hill said.
Obama has said he would cut the annual budget gap in half. But it has topped $1 trillion for four years running.
"President Obama famously promised to cut the deficit in half and today's report shows that his pledge amounted to nothing more than more empty campaign rhetoric," said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.