Washington The Congressional Budget Office sees this year's federal surplus dropping below $200 billion, agreeing with recent comments by Bush administration officials that the surplus is falling.
The nonpartisan analytic agency also estimated last week that the surplus was $167 billion $10 billion less than a year earlier in the first nine months of fiscal 2001, which ends Sept. 1.
In May, before the recent tax cut was enacted, CBO projected a 2001 surplus of $275 billion.
Asked about the estimate, CBO Director Dan Crippen said he did not believe the figures foreshadowed the beginning of a long-term plunge back to the days of federal deficits.
"Not if you expect the economy to recover, as we do," he said.