CRFB Reaction to Senate Tax Bill

For Immediate Release

The Senate unveiled a revised tax reform bill Friday. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

The Senate tax bill would do too little to grow the economy and a lot to grow the debt. Given that tax reform is a once in a generation occurrence, it is a lost opportunity that will have consequences for years to come. And given that our debt is at near-record levels, it is a reckless gamble that could jeopardize our fiscal health for decades.

We are hugely disappointed that the Senate is continuing to pursue a fiscally risky plan instead of making needed changes. Republicans appear to believe that economic growth will pay for this tax bill and maybe even then some – and for the future of our nation, we hope they are right, but there is not a single reason to believe they are. No independent economist says this tax bill will pay for itself, and no score from any source on any version of the bill so far says it will either. If 99 out of 100 doctors told you one thing, would you choose the advice of the single outlier?

Proponents of the plan claimed it would generate 0.4 percent increased annual growth or more; the scorekeepers found the increase would be 0.08 percent. We were told it would not increase the debt; the scorekeepers found it will by at least $1 trillion. 

We are especially disappointed that an earlier commitment this week to include a trigger or new savings to lower the cost of the bill was abandoned. There were so many lost opportunities to improve this bill by removing the gimmicks, fully paying for it, and including a backstop. We are left extremely concerned about the lack of responsibility shown in passing this bill – with the one notable exception of Senator Corker, who should be commended for his efforts to improve this bill.

Tax reform is critically important in the effort to help grow the economy and help improve the fiscal situation, and there are still plenty of options available to make improvements on both fronts. We hope that the bill moves in that direction in negotiations with the House.              


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