Fiscal Year 2018 begins today without a federal budget. The good news is that Congress may soon agree on a budget. The bad news is that the budget could pave the way for increasing the national debt.
The House Budget Committee approved of a budget earlier this year that is set to get a vote on the House floor this coming week. At the same time, the Senate Budget Committee plans to mark up its own budget.
Although both budgets claim to reduce the debt, they rely on unspecified and unrealistic spending cuts and improbable savings from economic growth. The Senate budget is especially egregious, as it assumes over $4 trillion in mandatory spending cuts with no details on how to achieve that savings.
The Senate budget also includes reconciliation instructions allowing for up to $1.5 trillion of tax cuts. Using budget reconciliation would allow tax cuts to be passed with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate instead of 60 votes under a filibuster. If the tax cuts are passed and the savings don’t materialize, it will add significantly to the already unsustainable debt path.
Our partners at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the Senate budget is not responsible in a statement:
This budget allows for $1.5 trillion in deficit-financed tax cuts, abandons the idea of getting mandatory savings, and engages in the classic Washington pastime of trying to hide it all with accounting gimmicks. For months, Republican leaders have talked about revenue-neutral tax reform, and through this budget they have seemingly abandoned that promise and replaced it with a plan that could easily lead to more spending, more borrowing, and a higher debt.
At a time when the national debt is at near-record levels, a budget that not only fails to make improvements, but would actually make the debt worse, is nothing short of highly irresponsible.
We need smart tax reform that grows the economy without adding to the debt, along with mandatory spending reforms to help curb our unsustainable spending — this is not what this budget provides. This budget is a roadmap leading us in the wrong direction.
And create a responsible budget with the Debt Fixer tool.
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