Missing from Balanced Budget Amendment Debate: A Budget

Apr 10, 2018 | Budget Process

For Immediate Release

The House of Representatives will vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution on Thursday. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

It is long past time for the United States to put in place stronger fiscal rules. To the extent that calls for a balanced budget amendment are a first step toward fiscal discipline, we welcome that conversation. But fiscal rules must be realistic, and they don’t replace the need for hard choices.

Anyone supporting a balanced budget amendment should also have a plan to achieve a balanced budget and support efforts to implement such a plan; otherwise, it is not a serious proposal.

Sadly, Congress has considered many symbolic budgets that balance on paper, but lawmakers have shown little interest in fiscal discipline when it mattered. The FY 2017 budget resolution demanded only a paltry $2 billion of deficit reduction over an entire decade; that’s just $200 million per year when we are facing looming trillion-dollar deficits. Last year’s budget actually called for almost $1.5 trillion more in deficits, and this year, it is looking likely that Congress won’t even pass a budget.

With debt poised to overtake the size of the entire economy in just over a decade, it is astonishing that Congress would skip on a budget this year – especially after spending the past year passing budget-busting tax cut and spending bills. We need a budget with a long-term fiscal plan that can be implemented and addresses our unsustainable debt head-on, not more meaningless messaging, delay, and denial.

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