Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Friday defended the White House approach to the deficit as his department officially confirmed a fiscal 2012 deficit of $1.089 trillion.

That figure is $207 billion less than in 2011, and $238 billion less than forecast in February.

The fact the deficit remains above $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row, despite President Obama’s pledge to cut it in half by now, is a major headache for Obama’s reelection campaign.

In a joint statement with acting Budget Director Jeff Zients, Geithner sought to blame Congress for the deficit.

“The president has put forward a balanced proposal to further strengthen the economy and reduce the country’s future deficits,” he said. “It is time for Congress to act on these necessary steps that will help create sustainable economic growth for years to come.”

“The path forward on deficit reduction is clear,” said Zients. “Congress needs to work with the administration to enact balanced deficit reduction that includes further spending cuts and additional revenue from asking the wealthiest to contribute their fair share.”