Congress Should Act Swiftly to Pass Fiscal Responsibility Act

The House will vote tomorrow on the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 – bipartisan legislation to limit discretionary spending, suspend the debt limit, rescind remaining COVID relief, curb certain executive spending powers, reform work requirements, and make other changes.

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

The Fiscal Responsibility Act will likely be the largest deficit reduction law in almost a dozen years. It will help the Federal Reserve fight inflation and begin to make progress in addressing our mounting national debt. The legislation will reestablish some discipline in the appropriations process, impose constraints on costly executive actions, reduce unnecessary spending and, importantly, raise the debt limit and avoid default.

It has become standard practice that budget deals make the deficit worse and increase borrowing from what it otherwise would have been. The Fiscal Responsibility Act does the opposite. It cuts some spending, imposes caps, and moves in the direction of limiting our out-of-control borrowing.

Of course, much more will have to be done. To truly fix the debt, policymakers will need to put everything on the table, including revenue, defense, and mandatory spending, and they will need to work together to rescue our trust funds from looming insolvency. But while it is politically easy to pass unpaid-for tax cuts and spending increases, enacting savings is much more difficult, and lawmakers who put together this deal demonstrated real leadership in finding compromises to achieve deficit reduction.

Congress and the President should pass the Fiscal Responsibility Act and then work to build on this success. Importantly, they should commit to not engage in any new borrowing outside of a true emergency until the debt is on a sustainable trajectory. They should create a Fiscal Commission that puts all parts of the budget on the table, including revenues, while reducing deficits and addressing impending Social Security and Medicare insolvency.  And they should reform the debt ceiling so that we have a process to limit further borrowing, rather than our ability to pay bills we already owe. We should never let ourselves get so close to the default deadline again.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act is a good deal that both sides should be proud of and work to pass quickly. It is much easier to have bipartisan cooperation for bills that rely on borrowing; the task of having bipartisan support for a bill that generates savings is no small feat. Stall tactics to delay passage would threaten the full faith and credit of the federal government and risk the important deficit reduction called for by this bill.

Deficits matter, and it’s encouraging when our leaders recognize that. They should pass this bill and then continue to build on this success.


For more information, please contact Kim McIntyre, Director of Media Relations, at