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Congress Must Act Now to Address Our Rising Debt

Washington, DC– The following is a statement from Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, on today’s CBO’s Budget and Economic Outlook: 

“Today’s updated Congressional Budget Office baseline is just the latest reminder that it is long past time for policymakers to get serious about addressing America’s fiscal health.  

The national debt is expected to exceed U.S. economic output next year. Interest owed on the public debt was the fastest growing area of major spending this year, growing at 32%. Further, that interest is now one of the largest federal expenditures—on par with the entire U.S. military budget or the federal cost of Medicaid.  

Members from both parties claim to agree that the nation’s fiscal path is unsustainable and in need of correction. But actions speak louder than words, and difficult decisions about entitlement reform, revenue generation, and the budget process are required. Hardworking Americans make tough choices every day with their household budgets, and they should expect their elected officials to the same.  

Since CBO’s annual report last year, we have been through another round of debt limit brinksmanship and a seemingly endless cycle of near-government shutdowns. We are now nearly halfway through the current fiscal year without a budget. All this injects unnecessary uncertainty into the economy while doing nothing to address the long-term drivers of federal debt. 

There is, however, good news: 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. It’s also why BPC applauds lawmakers in both parties who have advanced thoughtful ideas to establish a bipartisan, bicameral fiscal commission this year. 

The time for delay has past; failure to act will only lead to more economic pain down the road. BPC 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. 


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