Washington, DC – Today’s release from the Congressional Budget Office offers the latest proof that our fiscal house is not in order. It’s past time for Congress and the president to get serious about addressing the fiscal health of the country. The national debt is nearly the size of U.S. economic output and growing rapidly. The interest owed on that debt grew an astonishing 41% in the first four months of the fiscal year and will soon be one of the largest categories of federal expenditures. Both parties agree: We have been on an unsustainable path and are in need of correction. This must involve serious discussions, bipartisan negotiations, and legislative action surrounding entitlement reform, revenue generation, and budget process.
It is no secret that our elected officials have some significant fiscal deadlines in the coming months that political brinkmanship alone will not be able to solve: They must raise the debt ceiling and they must fund the government. Therefore, in a time of split-party control, they must work together.
Luckily, the answers are out there. For example, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings laid out a comprehensive package of reforms to save Social Security. Similarly, BPC’s Future of Health Care initiative crafted bipartisan recommendations for Medicare in the Bipartisan Rx for American Health Care. And Representatives Jodey Arrington and Scott Peters have introduced bipartisan legislation to defuse the debt limit, replacing the current unproductive debate with consideration of specific debt reduction legislation on the floor of the House and Senate.
Given today’s low unemployment and persistent inflation, there’s no better time to make progress on our fiscal challenges. BPC has and will continue to champion policy efforts that offer realistic, bipartisan, and politically viable solutions. We stand ready to assist.
Bill Hoagland and other BPC experts are available for comment.