The United States government deficit. This grew vastly during the 1980s and continued in the 1990s in spite of repeated political pledges to reduce it and an attempt, via the Gramm–Rudman–Hollings Act, to do this by legislation. The deficit disappeared in the late 1990s due to growth in the US economy but increased again with a record deficit in 2004. It is now declining once more. ‘The deficit’ is not the same as the deficit in the US balance of payments on current account, though the budget deficit has been a major cause of the external deficit.