On Friday, Congress passed a continuing resolution to reopen the federal government for three weeks. The bill also delayed about $800 million in automatic spending cuts by moving the negative balance of the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) scorecard to the following fiscal year. The Heritage Foundation’s David Ditch, member of the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, offered the following response:
“This accounting gimmick is the latest in a long series of decisions by politicians of both parties to ignore the nation’s worsening financial condition.
“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an updated fiscal estimate for the next decade and estimates show the federal deficit for 2019 to increase to $897 billion, which is roughly the size of the combined economies of Arizona, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
“The fact that Congress could not stomach a fiscal correction of $839 million, just one-tenth of one percent of the likely deficit, is emblematic of Washington D.C.’s short-sighted approach to budgeting.
“It is clear that the PAYGO concept has failed to rein in deficits. As a replacement, Congress should implement a comprehensive set of fiscal rules to cap spending, pay for emergencies and disasters, and achieve balance over the course of a business cycle.
“With the national debt nearing $22 trillion, Washington legislators must end their fiscal gimmicks and stop out-of-control spending. They should start by ensuring that any forthcoming spending on natural disasters and border security be paid for through reductions to wasteful programs.”
Ditch’s latest report on PAYGO can be found here: https://www.heritage.org/budget-and-spending/report/paygo-bipartisan-failure-need-replacement