Budget Deal Will Bring Back Trillion-Dollar Deficits and Could Ultimately Add More Than $1.5 Trillion to the Debt

For Immediate Release

Senate leaders have agreed to a massive budget deal raising the defense and nondefense spending caps for two years, increasing other spending, and in the process adding $300 billion to $400 billion to the deficit. Ultimately, the deal would set the stage for more than $1.5 trillion of new debt over the next decade. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

This deal represents budgeting at its worst – each party is giving the other its wish list with all the bells and whistles included and asking future generations to pick up the tab. And as a result, trillion-dollar deficits will most likely return next year.

This bill could ultimately be as costly as the ill-advised tax cuts passed earlier this year, setting the stage for more than $1.5 trillion in debt if the increased cap levels are extended through the decade.

No one who supports this bill can consider himself or herself a deficit hawk or fiscally responsible. The entire point of the caps and sequester in the bipartisan Budget Control Act was to control discretionary spending and then encourage Congress to adopt smart mandatory spending savings and new revenues. This bill not only reverses the sequester cuts without sufficient pay-fors, it also includes significant further increases in discretionary spending that reverse much of the pre-sequester caps. And to add insult to injury, it also proposes further spending meant to satisfy everyone’s Christmas list.

This budget deal shows just how broken the budget process is – that Congress thinks the only way to agree to a budget is to put hundreds of billions of dollars on the nation’s credit card. But now is exactly the wrong time to borrow more money – with debt at a post-war record high and the economy in a healthy position, deficit reduction is needed.

It’s one thing to have trillion-dollar deficits during a deep recession, but to create permanent trillion-dollar deficits projected during a time of economic expansion is the definition of irresponsibility. It’s a stunning fiscal picture and an unprecedented reckless path. That there is virtually no discussion of how to control the fiscal situation shows just how broken our governing process has become.


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