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Dem spending priorities could spike deficit to near $7 trillion: GOP

January 29, 2019

Democratic spending priorities like Medicare-for-all, universal child care, and free college tuition could send annual federal deficits skyrocketing to roughly $7 trillion in 10 years or about seven times their current level according to projections from Republicans on the House Budget Committee.

Rep. Bill Johnson, Ohio Republican, laid out the projections at the House Budget Committee’s first formal hearing of the new Congress.

Mr. Johnson said Medicare-for-all which he called the “pinnacle of budget-busting proposals” required lawmakers to “break the scale on the chart” displayed at the hearing to fit in all the new spending.

“Given that our revenues can’t come close to covering our existing deficit, how, then, should we cover the deficit created by these new spending programs?” Mr. Johnson asked Keith Hall, the director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Mr. Hall repeatedly told members at the hearing that CBO tries to avoid specific policy recommendations, as lawmakers try to grapple with annual deficits that are already projected to hit $1 trillion in 2022 and beyond.

“We don’t make policy recommendations, but I will say that some pretty big changes would need to be made in tax policy or spending policy or both things,” Mr. Hall said.

The Democratic priorities included in the projections also included expanded federal housing, expanded earned income and opportunity tax credits, additional tax subsidies for families, and a federal jobs guarantee program.

Mr. Hall was testifying to the committee a day after the CBO released its latest budget projections for the federal government over the next 10 years.

CBO projected that the government will run a deficit of approximately $900 billion this year and that deficits will top $1.3 trillion by 2029.

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