WASHINGTON -  After falling for several years, the US budget deficit jumped nearly 34 percent in fiscal 2016, the Treasury Department announced but the shortfall was still smaller than originally planned.

The Obama administration's budget for the year to September 30 came in with a $587 billion deficit, out of $3.85 trillion spent during the year.

A deficit of $28 billion more was forecast in President Barack Obama's fiscal 2017 budget earlier this year, but lower spending than expected by a number of government departments limited the rise in the gap.

The deficit was far below the trillion-dollar shortfalls of 2009-2013 when government spending soared on efforts to rescue the finance and auto sectors in the economic crash while tax receipts sank.

Even if the 2016 deficit came in under forecasts, slower-than-expected economic growth over the past year meant that the ratio of debt to gross economic product -- which measures the weight of debt on the economy -- jumped to 3.2 percent from 2.5 percent in fiscal 2015.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement that the deficit would have been smaller if business tax cuts instituted by Congress in late 2015 had been counterbalanced by measures to boost government income.

"The Obama administration's agenda has spurred durable economic growth and the longest streak of job growth on record, while sharply reducing the deficit to a sustainable level," he said.

Meanwhile,  A powerful US senator demanded that President Barack Obama remove the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly obstructing efforts to force companies to reveal political donations.

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren escalated her longstanding criticism of SEC Chair Mary Jo White, sending a letter to Obama calling White the "biggest barrier" to establishing rules that require companies to disclose political contributions.

"For years, the chair of the SEC, Mary Jo White, has refused to develop a political spending disclosure rule despite her clear authority to do so, and despite unprecedented and overwhelming investor and public support for such a rule," Warren said. "Enough is enough."

Warren said Obama should invoke his unilateral authority to immediately name a new SEC chair from the agency's five-member commission.

"While demoting an existing chair and selecting another from among the agency's current Commissioners would be an uncommon act, Chair White's extraordinary, ongoing efforts to undermine the agency's central mission make such a step necessary," she said.

The SEC creates and enforces the rules governing public companies and the securities industry. Its commission is effectively chosen by the two political parties, but the chair is named from the commission by the president.

The issue of political disclosures has mounted as businesses and foundations have deployed hundreds of millions of dollars, often secretly, to back candidates from both parties in this year's elections.  Warren said that although the Obama administration and his Democratic Party have supported forcing such disclosures, Republicans in Congress have fought legislation and White has resisted putting the requirement in SEC rules for the thousands of public companies it regulates.

Serving on the powerful Senate banking committee, Warren has made herself a force in corporate and financial services regulatory issues.

While her voice alone might not bring the Obama administration, in its final three months, to take action on White, Warren is thought to be powerful enough to make some demands on Hillary Clinton if the Democratic candidate wins the November White House race.