Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Committee is Encouraged by Discussions of Offsets

Jun 11, 2021 | Other Spending

For Immediate Release

A bipartisan group of senators appears to be close to reaching an infrastructure spending deal that would be fully paid for with offsetting tax and spending adjustments and reallocations. Meanwhile, Representative Don Young (R-AK)Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI), and the White House, among others, have all called for offsetting the costs of new infrastructure. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

If something is worth doing, it is worth paying for—it is so refreshing to hear lawmakers demonstrating real leadership and talking about paying for their priorities. With debt approaching a new record and growing as far as the eye can see, we must avoid the temptation to put even more on the nation’s credit card, even for worthwhile investments.

We very much look forward to seeing the details of the bipartisan Senate package. It will be good news if the senators are joining a growing chorus of lawmakers and experts in both parties who recognize that raising the gas tax to account for inflation is an equitable and efficient way to pay for infrastructure. And there are many other possible ways to offset the costs – we have outlined numerous tax increases, user fees, and spending cuts that could be part of any package.

Of course, the devil is in the details, and we need to make sure any package is offset over a reasonable period of time and relies on real pay-fors, not gimmicks or sleights of hand. And in addition to paying for new spending, it is important policymakers secure the Highway Trust Fund, which is only about a year from insolvency.

The one option that should be off the table is making our kids pay the tab. Any bipartisan agreement should be fully paid for, and any reconciliation instructions should make clear that new spending doesn’t worsen the debt.

We cannot build back better by borrowing our way there. We welcome the encouraging signs that many lawmakers understand how important this is.

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For more information, please contact Ben Tomchik, deputy chief of staff, at tomchik@crfb.org.