Budget Deal Should Be Paid For

Jul 17, 2019 | Budget Process

For Immediate Release

Congressional leaders and the White House are in talks to raise the debt ceiling and statutory budget caps before the August recess. The last such deal, in February 2018, added $420 billion to the debt over a decade. If continued without offsets, it would cost roughly $2 trillion. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

In the first two years of President Trump’s term, he has signed into law a 16% increase in discretionary spending caps agreed to by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. If current budget caps are lifted at levels proposed in the House earlier this year, it will lead to a whopping 24% increase from 2017 levels – an astounding amount as the national debt surges to near-record highs as a share of the economy and with the imminent return of trillion-dollar deficits.

Missing from these reports so far are details on pay-fors. Any deal to raise the debt ceiling should either be a clean increase or be combined with a plan or process to reduce the debt. A debt ceiling increase should most certainly not include increasing the budget caps in a manner that would increase the debt. A plan to support increasing the debt ceiling while simultaneously increasing the debt makes a mockery out of budgeting and the fiduciary responsibility our leaders are supposed to demonstrate.

The debt ceiling is our only current backstop to fiscal insanity; it must be lifted, it should be reformed, it should serve as reminder to stop this borrowing binge – but it most certainly should not be a vehicle to borrow even more.

President Trump last year said in response to a $1.3 trillion omnibus bill that enacted the last spending increase: “I will never sign another bill like this again.” He should enforce this mantra and insist Congress bring responsible budget process back to our nation’s finances, not more debt binging cloaked as bipartisanship that we can’t afford.

Read our comprehensive bipartisan budget caps plan here.

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For more information, please contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org