Budget watchdog group warns Congress against new deficit spending this year, launches ad campaign
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a budget watchdog group, says it plans to run public advertisements urging U.S. lawmakers "not to add more new debt" this year.
The group released its first audio ad on Monday.
The budget deficit came in at $1.4 trillion for the fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30, and the national debt has reached $31.3 trillion.
Congressional leaders are currently negotiating a year-end spending package, which might include increased budgets for certain agencies. The final agreement will yield a temporary continuing resolution (CR) or a year-long omnibus spending bill.
"Negotiations for a yearlong omnibus agreement move forward. There’s a lot of work left to do, but we’re optimistic that if we preserve the good faith we’ve seen so far, we will get there," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday.
According to the CRFB, "lawmakers could easily add tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars in new borrowing if they adopt even just some of the measures they are contemplating," such as extending provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, continuing the expansion of the child tax credit and suspending the "Medicare and/or PAYGO sequester."
Maya MacGuineas, president of the CRFB, urged Congress to reject "all non-emergency new borrowing for the rest of the year," arguing that "there is no economic justification" for it, given the size of the deficit and debt as well as the level of inflation.
"Many lawmakers are resistant to this idea because they want to enact or extend favored policies without being troubled with paying for them," MacGuineas said in a statement. "But this is a vote to worsen economic conditions at a time so many of them claim inflation is the most pressing economic issue. This is exactly the kind of legislative dealmaking where Congress claims a win while future generations — saddled by our ever-growing debt — lose.
"A pivot towards responsible budgeting can begin with the smallest of steps. Agreeing not to engage in any new borrowing for the next three weeks — a mere 19 days — is about the easiest step any lawmaker can take this year. We hope the reminder that borrowing during periods of high inflation makes the job of the Federal Reserve even more difficult will convince some lawmakers to agree to no new borrowing for the rest of 2022."