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Budget Bill Caps Shameful Period of Fiscal Recklessness

Aug 1, 2019 | Budget Process

For Immediate Release

The Senate passed a budget agreement Thursday to suspend the debt ceiling and raise discretionary spending caps for two years, sending the bill to President Trump who supports it. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Today's budget vote caps a shameful period of fiscal recklessness in Washington that is unprecedented in the context of our current fiscal state. 

This legislation alone will cost $320 billion over two years and result in a 21 percent increase in discretionary spending since 2017. Over the next decade, this bill will add $1.7 trillion to projected debt. 

Congress and the President have added $4.1 trillion to the debt since President Trump took office. As a result, deficits are more than double what they would have been without fiscally irresponsible tax cuts and spending increases.

Going forward, neither side can claim a mantle of responsible governing, and few have any moral ground to stand on – this is a bipartisan failure. A vote for this deal was a vote for fiscal irresponsibility and an abdication of leadership. Too few lawmakers are willing to stand on principle. For those who did vote for this bill, it’s hard to tell what principle was guiding them: the principle that you should not pay for what you spend, the principle that you should run up the debt to near-record levels even during an economic expansion, or the principle of generational theft? 

With the national debt rising to historic levels – soon to overtake the size of our entire economy and beyond – and with our largest programs, Social Security and Medicare, spinning toward insolvency, our nation's answer is to make the problem worse at every turn.

Going forward, the choices are now going to get even tougher. Future Congresses and Presidents will have less room to enact big ideas – they will be tethered to cleaning up the past.

Throughout our history, this country has overcome the greatest of challenges. Unfortunately, our national debt is a self-inflicted wound. It will take the kind of leadership that currently doesn't exist in Washington to fix. But I am still hopeful there will soon be the kind of change needed to make it happen and that we do not wait until it is too late.

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