A Step Backwards for Fiscal Responsibility

For Immediate Release

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled the Chairman’s Mark of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

While it is encouraging to see the House move forward on tax reform, it seems each new vote and milestone is a step backwards for the cause of fiscal responsibility.


The original House-passed budget proposed reconciliation instructions for revenue-neutral tax reform along with $200 billion of spending cuts. The final budget passed allowed instead for a $1.5 trillion deficit increase. And now we have a tax plan that may be even worse.

Not only would today’s legislation cost more than $1.5 trillion over a decade, but it includes a number of gimmicks, including allowing certain provisions to expire, that could ultimately result in more than $1.5 trillion of new deficits. The bill also continues to rely on unrealistic economic growth assumptions to justify its cost.

Even a $1.5 trillion increase in the debt amounts to almost $12,000 per household – a steep price passed on to our children.


Tax reform is an important national priority that can help grow the economy if done right. We are pleased to see the House put forward a number of serious pay-fors to help finance rate reductions. But given the huge unpaid-for gap remaining, this plan does not constitute true comprehensive, revenue-neutral, and pro-growth reform. It instead is a bill of treats paid for by too many tricks that could harm the economy, not help it – a scary prospect for our country’s future at a time when we already face a dire fiscal state.

With debt higher than any time since just after World War II and trillion-dollar annual deficits slated to return by 2022 under current law, there is no justification to adding trillions more to the nation’s credit card. No credible model shows that tax cuts will create enough growth to fill in the funding gap, and increasing the debt can actually slow economic growth, leaving us in worse shape than before.


We encourage members of Congress to focus on further base broadening, new sources of revenue, spending cuts, or scaled-back rate reduction to pay for this bill. The best and only real chance for tax reform to grow the economy is if it is permanent and fully paid for.


For more information contact Patrick Newton, Press Secretary, at newton@crfb.org.