Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Concept_Budget

House Should Not Authorize Trillions of Borrowing

Aug 23, 2021 | Budgets & Projections

The House is expected to vote this week on a Senate-passed budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2022 that would allow up to $1.75 trillion of borrowing through reconciliation instructions designed to enact $3.5 trillion in new initiatives (these initiatives could ultimately cost $5 trillion to $5.5 trillion). The House may also consider the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would borrow $400 billion. Taken together, passage of these efforts could set the stage for $4.3 trillion of new debt before extending any of its expiring policies, enough to lift debt to a massive 119 percent of the economy by the end of the decade.

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

The Senate budget resolution should be a non-starter in the House. It allows for $1.75 trillion of direct new borrowing at a time when debt is already headed to record levels. That kind of borrowing made sense during the recession and pandemic, but it would be irresponsible and harmful going forward.

The Speaker has said the House will ‘craft a bill that is paid for,’ and the budget resolution should reflect that – either with reconciliation instructions that add to $0 or with an overarching limit such as the Conrad Rule that prevents reconciliation from adding to the debt. House Leadership has long supported pay-as-you-go budgeting, and now is not the time to abandon it.

Before the House begins consideration of trillions of new spending and tax breaks, they should work to ensure the bipartisan infrastructure bill is fully paid for. While negotiators in the Senate worked hard to identify offsets, the Congressional Budget Office finds that they will fall $400 billion short. Rather than setting the stage for $1.75 trillion of new borrowing, the House should identify additional revenue and spending reductions so that infrastructure legislation is fully paid for and thus supports stronger economic growth.

Now is not the time to further explode our national debt.

Read: Comparing the Cost of Build Back Better to Other Recent Legislation
Read: How Much Could Build Back Better Add to the Debt, An Update
Read: Infrastructure Plan Will Add $400 Billion to the Deficit, CBO Finds
Read: The Senate Budget Resolution Would Allow $1.75 Trillion of Borrowing
Read: Reconciliation 101

###

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