CBO Finds Rising Debt in the President’s Budget

For Immediate Release

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its analysis of the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget Thursday showing the plan would result in substantially more debt over the decade than the White House claims. According to CBO, debt would rise from 78 percent of GDP today to 87 percent by 2029 under the President’s budget, rather than falling to 71 percent of GDP as the Administration claims. Deficits will exceed $1 trillion, rather than falling to $202 billion as the Administration claims.

The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

Today’s report makes clear that we can’t simply wish the debt away. The President deserves credit for including in his budget serious and thoughtful reforms to curb rapidly-rising health care costs and other spending, but these proposals would do too little to put the debt on a sustainable path.

CBO’s estimates show that much of the claimed debt reduction in the budget comes from fantasy economic growth assumptions, and that when realistic numbers are used, the President’s plan leaves debt on an unsustainable path.

After a two-year binge of tax cuts and discretionary spending that added $2.4 trillion to the debt, we cannot afford to keep ignoring the need for fiscal responsibility. Talk of $2 trillion in new infrastructure spending and $2 trillion for defense and non-defense spending hikes is premature when the country still doesn’t have its fiscal house in order.

The President must lead on this issue by putting forward a reasonable plan to pay for any new spending and tax cuts and to put the debt on a downward path relative to the economy.

The President and Congress should work together to address our unsustainable debt, not paper over and add to it.

For more information, please read our blog, "CBO Releases Its Own Estimate of the President's FY 2020 Budget."


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