Policymakers Should Not Add Trillions to the Debt through New Cap Deal

For Immediate Release:

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY) released details of a plan Tuesday to forgo consideration of a budget resolution and instead raise current law discretionary spending caps for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 by over $350 billion – a change that could cost roughly $2 trillion over a decade. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

It is unacceptable that the House Budget Committee is refusing to consider a budget and inexcusable that they are instead pursuing massive spending hikes.

Any budget deal should set discretionary spending levels that are realistic, affordable, and, most importantly, fully offset. What the House is now considering would cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next two years and could ultimately add trillions to the debt if not paid for.

Congress must not repeat the mistakes made with last year’s debt-busting Bipartisan Budget Act by extending huge unpaid-for spending hikes. Nor should they consider any effort to circumvent the caps by classifying ordinary expenditures as war spending as proposed in the President’s budget.

Failure to pass a budget means that Congress will never have to wrestle with the necessary tradeoffs when deciding spending levels. The result is likely to be the return of trillion-dollar deficits by next year.

It is time to pump the brakes on another deficit-fueled spending spree and first put forth a responsible budget that addresses our unsustainable path toward record debt.

Budgeting is not as easy as running up the credit card, but it is the most basic function of responsible governing. We need a blueprint on how these spending hikes fit into the bigger fiscal picture.

With debt already at massive levels, we cannot afford to pile huge new spending on top of deep tax cuts on top of rapidly growing health and retirement costs. Something will have to give – hopefully, it’s not our economic future.


For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org.