WASHINGTON, D.C. — Steve Bell, senior director for economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, issued the following statement following the passage of H.R. 325, the debt legislation, in the Senate today:
“Senate passage of H.R. 325 today gives room for substantive negotiations on spending and revenues as the March 1 sequester nears. We hope that the president and Congress will take this opportunity to agree on a major deficit reduction plan that stabilizes federal debt near the 60 percent debt-to-GDP level.
“Failure by policymakers to reach agreement in negotiations over the last two years threatens to eventually weigh both on our economy and on financial markets. While the United States enjoys unprecedented low levels of interest rates on its sovereign debt now, markets will demand higher interest rates on that debt if policymakers continue in gridlock.
“A truly balanced plan incorporating fundamental tax reform and restructuring of entitlements would be an important fiscal step forward. To merely allow the across-the-board cuts of the impending sequester to take effect would be bad both for the economy in the short run, but do almost nothing to cure the underlying debt dilemma facing the nation.”