This week on Facing the Future our guest was Rachel Snyderman, Director of Economic Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. We discussed the fiscal challenges awaiting the winner of the 2024 presidential election and the more immediate challenge of finally passing the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills – something that is now four months overdue. Concord Coalition Chief Economist Steve Robinson joined the conversation.
“We don’t know what the next administration and the next Congress will look like, but what we do know is that they are going to be faced with some significant fiscal deadlines immediately,” Snyderman said. “First and foremost, we know that the debt limit is going to rear its head again early in the next administration. Right now the debt limit has been suspended through January 2 of 2025, but we know that once it is reinstated on that date Congress will have to come together with the next Administration to determine how they are going to raise the debt limit.”
That politically difficult task is far from the only challenge the next administration will face. Snyderman explained, “we’re also going to be facing the expiration of trillions of dollars in tax cuts at the end of 2025 that were implemented under former President Trump in 2017 in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. These are provisions that will affect nearly every tax payer in the United States as well as the business community. We also know that there is a global tax agreement that will be up for debate in Congress in 2025. And then, of course, there is the insolvency of the Social Security and Medicare Trust funds. We will be another year closer to their impending insolvency in their early 2030s.”
She stated that, “the next administration and Congress is going to need to find their political courage to overcome some of these very significant fiscal deadlines that we know they will have to face in a time of divided government. Both sides of the aisle are going to have to come together to put forward some sort of consensus on behalf of the American people.”
For now, all of that is on the back burner as Congress struggles just to pass its annual appropriation bills, now four months overdue.
Snyderman said, “It is incredible. We’re just talking about the basic operations, the natural normal budget homework of Congress, even putting aside the deadlines that they’re going to be facing in the next administration. But that’s the big challenge right now. So it’s definitely a time when the political megaphones are so loud that they can really tune out the importance of reaching that behind closed doors consensus.”
Looking ahead, Snyderman is hopeful that a new fiscal commission can help.
“The Bipartisan Policy Center is structurally supportive of a fiscal commission,” she said. “Of course, we do think that there are some elements that can help lawmakers really ensure that a fiscal commission is set up for success.”
“They really need to focus on bringing in the American public, ensuring that folks understand our debt challenge. How does this impact American households and American businesses? Really identifying why our debt is a problem and how it could impact our economy, our national security, our global standing, and then together, having policy makers come to the table to identify those principles that both sides of the aisle can agree on to address the debt. Success can be defined in many different ways. It doesn’t necessarily have to be rushing to vote on a debt reduction package,” Snyderman said.
Hear more on Facing the Future. I host the program each week on WKXL in Concord N.H., and it is also available via podcast. Join us as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, and elected officials. Past broadcasts are available here. You can subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or with an RSS feed. Follow Facing the Future on Facebook, and watch videos from past episodes on The Concord Coalition YouTube channel.