Spending Bill Gives Deficit Another Boost

Press Release
Friday, March 23, 2018

WASHINGTON -- President Trump today signed the $1.3 trillion spending bill to fund government programs for the remaining six months of Fiscal 2018. The following statement is from Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition:

Congress and President Trump seem to have abandoned all sense of fiscal responsibility in recent months, passing bills first to cut taxes and now to dramatically increase both defense and domestic spending -- all of which will require more federal borrowing.

Rather than working to put the budget on a sustainable path, Trump and Congress are making things worse. The national debt is already quite high by historical levels and rising rapidly. The deficit-financed tax cuts that were approved in December will add at least $1 trillion to that debt, and perhaps much more.

Now elected officials have approved an $80 billion increase over previously authorized levels in defense spending and a $63 billion increase in domestic spending. Instead of setting priorities and making difficult choices, lawmakers reached a bipartisan agreement to simply borrow and spend. The combination of tax cuts and spending increases will likely lead to the return of trillion-dollar deficits in the next fiscal year and beyond, despite a growing economy.

The new legislation also illustrates how badly the federal budget process is broken. Congress should have sent a dozen separate, carefully considered spending bills to the White House last summer and early fall. Instead lawmakers after Fiscal 2018 began relied on a series of stop-gap measures, threats and deadline brinkmanship. Half the fiscal year is already over.

Some in Congress are understandably upset to have to vote on a single 2,232-page bill with only hours to review it. Their constituents should be upset as well. Meanwhile, as federal agencies and departments scramble to allocate the new money with only six months left in the fiscal year, they are left to wonder when this arbitrary and disruptive pattern of dysfunction will end.

As the Fiscal 2019 budget cycle gets underway, Congress and President Trump must try to improve on this dismal record. They should muster a greater sense of fiscal responsibility and focus on bringing down federal deficits rather than pushing them up.

Media contact: Steve Winn, [email protected], (703) 254-7828

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The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility. Since 1992, Concord has worked to educate the public about the causes and consequences of the federal deficit and debt, and to develop realistic solutions for sustainable budgets. For more fiscal news and analysis, visit concordcoalition.org and follow us on Twitter: @ConcordC