The extenders bill that the House will consider this week is a timely reminder of why it is important for Congress to approve a budget resolution. Such a measure continues to elude Congress, but there has been considerably less trouble reaching agreement on a bill that will add a staggering $167 billion to the deficit over 2010-2014 and a net increase of $134 billion over 2010-2020.
Some emergency spending may be necessary to provide assistance to the unemployed while the economy remains fragile, but the cost of this bill goes far beyond what is necessary and affordable — despite $56 billion in revenue offsets.
In addition to extensions of unemployment and COBRA benefits, the bill includes funding for such things as infrastructure, aid to the states, summer jobs, agriculture disaster assistance, and the settlement of two lawsuits. While many of these items may be worthwhile, Congress must begin making some difficult choices.
These decisions should be made within the context of the broader framework that a budget resolution can provide. As lawmakers begin reviewing the extenders bill and considering amendments, The Concord Coalition urges them to pass a budget resolution before adding to the deficit. In addition, they should either add more offsets or scale back the provisions in the bill.