The federal budget deficit is nearing the $1 trillion mark for a third straight year, putting pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to come up with a plan to rein in government spending.

The Treasury Department says the deficit through the first eight months of this year totaled $927.4 billion. That's slightly lower than last year's pace, when the deficit grew to $1.29 trillion.

The imbalance for May was $57.6 billion, compared to $135.9 billion for the same month last year. But much of that improvement came from a $45 billion write down in the estimated cost of the financial bailout program.

Soaring deficits have prompted Republicans to insist on deep spending cuts before agreeing to raise the $14.3 trillion borrowing limit, which the government hit in May.