House Funding Plan Shouldn’t Be An Excuse to Add to the Debt

Jan 17, 2018 | Budgets & Projections

For Immediate Release

Last night, House Republicans released a new plan to extend discretionary government funding through mid-February. The legislation would couple a continuing resolution (CR) with extended funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and impose a moratorium on three taxes that were enacted under the Affordable Care Act to help finance its costs. Deficit increases in the legislation would be exempt from statutory Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO). Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said the following:

The fact that we need a fourth continuing resolution this year extending budget talks a third of the way through the fiscal year demonstrates an inability to govern, and the inclusion of new unpaid-for tax cuts and continued spending above the caps showcases Congress’s continued addiction to debt.

We need our leaders to reach a budget deal that sets achievable discretionary caps and finances any near-term spending increases with permanent spending cuts or new revenue. The ultimate goal should be to reduce ballooning deficits – this bill increases them.

The proposed tax cuts in the bill alone would cost roughly $40 billion – and closer to $300 billion if made permanent. To make matters worse, lawmakers appear to be negotiating a deal to dramatically increase discretionary spending and incorporate further tax cuts and spending increases without offsetting the cost. That type of deal would hasten the return of trillion-dollar annual deficits and perhaps ultimately lead to two-trillion-dollar annual deficits.

Absent agreement on a fiscally responsible and fully offset budget deal, Congress should pass a clean CR that isn’t riddled with more deficit-financed tax cuts.

The failure of policymakers to pass appropriations bills this far into the fiscal year also highlights the need for fundamental budget process reform.

Congress needs to break its addiction to debt, not feed it.


For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at

Update 1/17/18: After this press release was sent, updated estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation became available. They indicate the cost of the tax cuts are $31 billion over 10 years, slightly under the "roughly $40 billion" cited in the release. Read about the new estimates here.