Treasury estimates borrowing need of $444 billion

WASHINGTON (AP) ? The Treasury Department is seeking to borrow $444 billion in the current quarter through March.

The latest estimate of borrowing plans for the January-March period would make this quarter the fifth highest in terms of government borrowing. Borrowing needs have surged as the government has had to fund record budget deficits.

The borrowing this quarter is $97 billion lower than the government initially indicated it would need. Treasury said Monday that improved tax receipts and lower expected spending were among the reasons for the reduced figure.

Senate Democrats were able to block a Republican move last week to halt the latest increase in the debt ceiling. The borrowing limit rose by $1.2 trillion to $16.4 trillion.