The Senate is currently considering a $118 billion supplemental appropriations package that would address the U.S. border crisis, the war in Ukraine, conflicts in the Middle East, and more.
Supporters of the bill fail to place this enormous amount of spending in the proper context:
- The gross national debt is currently $34.1 trillion, roughly $260,000 per household.
- The federal government is on pace to run a $2 trillion deficit for fiscal year (FY) 2024 and spend over $800 billion on interest payments alone.
- Adding the cost of the package to the Johnson–Schumer budget deal would push FY 2024 discretionary spending $55 billion above FY 2023 levels—a monumental failure given how bloated and wasteful spending was in 2023.
- Since the package is financed entirely by deficit spending, it would incur roughly $39 billion in interest costs over the next decade. This would push the total cost to $157 billion, roughly $1,200 for every household in the country.
- Excessive deficit spending during the COVID-19 pandemic was heavily responsible for the worst spike of inflation in four decades. Prices remain elevated to a point where the average U.S. household has lost thousands of dollars in purchasing power since January 2021. Piling on more deficit spending risks re-igniting the flames of inflation.
- The Federal Reserve’s decision to fight inflation by increasing interest rates has caused the cost of borrowing to rise sharply for both the federal government and hardworking Americans. Deficit spending adds to inflationary pressures, which will make it harder to bring interest rates down. With a sky-high national debt and sky-high home prices, Washington’s irresponsible decisions have a real cost for America.
Congress Must Return to Real Budgeting
When a responsible family faces financial difficulty, one of the first things it does is review the family budget and look for ways to save money. By contrast, Members of Congress often view deficit spending packages as an opportunity to launder boondoggles and make the nation’s fiscal crisis even worse.
Fortunately, it is not too late for legislators to do the right thing. They can reject the Senate’s fatally flawed proposal and use pending FY 2024 appropriations bills to put the flabby federal government on a diet. Potential targets include:
- Unnecessary handouts to state and local governments for issues that are far removed from the federal government’s responsibilities—local infrastructure, such as bike lanes and hiking trails; pork projects, such as tourism initiatives; and transfer payments to government entities, such as mass transit agencies.
- Wasteful and ineffective activities, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund, duplicative job-training programs, and poorly targeted foreign aid.
- Subsidies for organizations that are wholly or heavily captured by the ideological Left. This includes higher education, science agencies, “family planning” groups, nongovernmental organizations that enable illegal immigration, and more.
Sensible spending cuts would provide room to address top concerns, such as border security and support to Israel, without adding to the already unsustainable national debt.