Tax Extenders Package Could Add Half a Trillion Dollars to the Debt

The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to mark up legislation to revive special interest tax breaks known as “tax extenders” this week while also passing new temporary tax breaks. The legislation appears to offset the cost of reviving the tax extenders but not offset any new costs. As a result, the bill would add more than $100 billion to the debt in two years, or in the range of a half-trillion dollars over ten years if made permanent. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

This plan doesn’t just bring these zombie extenders back from the dead, it multiplies them. They took already terrible policy and expanded it – creating new temporary tax breaks that will add to the debt and carry a significant long-term cost.

The tax extenders are bad tax, economic, and fiscal policy, and most have been expired for a year and a half now. That’s why 12 organizations spanning the ideological spectrum joined together calling for Congress to follow through on its plan to end these tax breaks by letting them remain dead. The last thing we need to do is give life to new tax extenders on top of these and extend the ritual of writing tax policy one year at a time.

This package also violates the House’s pledge to abide by pay-as-you-go rules. While we appreciate that the old extenders are offset, the overall package would add over $100 billion to the debt – and it could cost five times that if made permanent.

Rather than reviving costly tax breaks and adding new ones, Congress should be working on reforms that fix the tax code and reduce future deficits. At a minimum, they should avoid passing any further debt-financed tax cuts. Our national debt is already too high.


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