Fully Paid for Must Mean Fully Paid For

For Immediate Release

Senate Budget Committee Democrats have apparently reached an agreement to pursue $3.5 trillion of new spending and tax breaks through the budget reconciliation process. Supporters say the new costs will be fully paid for. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

With debt already so high, the economy running strong, and such a massive increase in spending, it is more important now than ever that policymakers take seriously their commitment to fully offset this bill – a commitment that should be applauded.

Our leaders need to agree that they will fully pay for all the new spending and tax cuts. The national debt is headed to record levels, and it is important that new legislation include sufficient revenue increases and spending reductions to pay for the full proposal without resorting to gimmicks, games, exaggerations, or sleights of hand.

They should commit to using independent Congressional Budget Office estimates rather than relying on others’ claims or their own promises that proposals are paid for. Ignoring the CBO scores is an end run around a credible budget process.

Policies should be paid for over the traditional ten-year budget window, rather than enacting spending now and promising pay-fors later.

Smart investments will have a positive effect on economic growth, but they should not be exaggerated, and any dynamic revenue gains should go toward addressing our high and rising national debt.

Finally, legislators must commit to enacting these new policies responsibly by setting reconciliation instructions that add to $0 or else reduce deficits on net.

Politicians should not be making up their own estimates, choosing their own scorekeeper, incorporating fantasy growth assumptions, or relying on future promises to pay for their spending today.

We are encouraged that lawmakers are committed to making sure new investments are fully paid for. Now let’s make those commitments a reality.


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