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Grumet: Year-End Package Offers Good Policy, Adds Too Much to Debt

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet made the following statement on the newly released omnibus spending and tax extenders agreement:

“This agreement demonstrates the best and worst of this Congress. On the positive side, Congress is again negotiating and forging consensus on contentious policy issues. Most importantly, this package was developed without the threat of a government shutdown and absent the harsh partisan rhetoric from recent budget battles. The legislation fixes a number of persistent problems in federal policy, promotes innovation, and increases our economic competitiveness. However, Congress’ capacity to govern remains disturbingly dependent on adopting measures the country cannot afford. This agreement would increase the debt by roughly $800 billion, which is deeply troubling and weakens our nation’s future.

“Lifting the oil export ban, providing critical resources for our military, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to report regularly on border security efforts, information-sharing to strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity, funding groundbreaking research at the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy, providing for 9/11 first responders—these ideas are simple common sense. Extending key tax credits and making some permanent, such as the R&D tax credit, creates certainty for American businesses and removes a hurdle to comprehensive tax reform in 2017.

“While positive in substance, these policy advances come at a significant cost. Moreover, Congress continues to avoid tough choices on health care and entitlement spending. The mounting debt rightfully erodes public trust in our legislative process. Although this agreement is a major step forward on policy and collaboration, Congress must find a way to reach consensus that doesn’t rely on fiscal irresponsibility.”

KEYWORDS: DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, JASON GRUMET, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, 114TH CONGRESS, OIL EXPORT BAN