Though congressional estimators said federal budget deficits will linger at least until 2006 -- or even longer if President Bush's 2001 tax cuts are made permanent, House Republicans maintain there is room for even more additional tax relief.

The updated forecast released by the Congressional Budget Office shows the government running a $157 billion deficit for fiscal 2002, a $145 billion deficit for the fiscal year set to begin Oct. 1, and a total unified budget surplus of $1 trillion for 2003 through 2012.

Dan L. Crippen, director of the CBO told reporters at a press conference that the slide in the 10-year projections of the federal budget, from $2.4 trillion in March to just over $1 trillion in August, is something the country has not seen since the mid-1940s.

Earlier this year the CBO projected surpluses of $6 billion for 2003, $61 billion for 2004, and $2.4 trillion through 2012.

House Democrats however charged the Bush administration's tax and spending policies have eradicated nearly all the $5.6 trillion 10-year surplus figure.

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