Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Media Coverage

Sep 28, 2017|The New York Times

With Tax Cuts on the Table, Once-Mighty Deficit Hawks Hardly Chirp

For years, Republican lawmakers lamented the soaring national debt, pressing for spending cuts and clinging to the mantle of fiscal responsibility. But last week, Senate Republicans hammered out a deal to allow for as much as $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, betting that supercharged growth will make up for lost revenue, a potentially dubious prospect. The tax plan outlined Wednesday by the White House and Republican leaders in the House and Senate could cost more than $2 trillion over the next decade, according to a preliminary estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan advocacy group.

Sep 28, 2017|MSNBC

GOP Tax Plan Leaves Out Key Details

Maya MacGuineas and Lanhee Chen break down Trump's plan on Andrea Mitchell Reports.

Sep 27, 2017|The Wall Street Journal

The Tenuous Logic Behind Republicans’ About-Face on Debt

But permanently widening deficits is risky when the publicly held federal debt, now 77% of GDP, is on track to hit 91% in a decade as aging baby boomers draw on Social Security and Medicare. A $1.5 trillion tax cut would push that to 100%, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a watchdog group.

Oct 20, 2017|The Wall Street Journal

Your Favorite Tax Break Isn’t as Great as You Think

As Congress struggles to enact the first major overhaul of the tax code in 30 years, it faces severe budget constraints and political pressures. President Donald Trump has already called for preserving deductions for both mortgage interest and charitable donations. Unlike tax theorists, lawmakers don’t have the luxury of a blank slate.

Yet none of these beloved tax breaks rates higher than a B-minus, according to an informal survey of specialists at the Tax Foundation, the Tax Policy Center and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. We asked them to grade the breaks for cost effectiveness and averaged the results.

“Do I as a taxpayer want to subsidize a college building named after a rich person who donates?” says Marc Goldwein, policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Oct 20, 2017|CBS News

Senate passes $4 trillion budget blueprint

Soon after the vote, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget condemned the budget blueprint.

"While the House budget includes real savings and tax reform that doesn't blow a hole in the debt, the Senate budget is just the opposite," the Committee said. "No lawmaker can acknowledge our massive debt problem, argue against tax increases, and then pass a budget that only calls for $1 billion in savings out of a possible $47 trillion in spending and claim to be fiscally responsible – there is no universe in which this would be considered responsible."

Oct 20, 2017|The Associated Press

GOP Budget Deadlock Imperils Trump Hopes for Tax Overhaul

For instance, Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, is unenthusiastic about roiling his committee with a partisan proposal to cut food stamp spending by tens of billions of dollars over the coming decade. The panel is traditionally bipartisan and is just beginning work on major farm legislation that will need Democratic support to become law.

"They're afraid either the committees couldn't come up with the amount of savings that they're required or people wouldn't be willing to vote for them," said Ed Lorenzen of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocated for lower deficits. "And if either of those things happened it would jeopardize the entire reconciliation bill, including tax reform."

Oct 20, 2017|Morning Consult

Senate Republicans Start Discussing Importance of PAYGO Rules for Tax Reform

Ed Lorenzen, a senior adviser at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget who worked for PAYGO supporter Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) when the law was passed in 2010, said OMB has two options for determining how to score legislation.

Under the first option, the administration would follow a CBO estimate that accompanies the legislation — the intended process under the PAYGO rules, Lorenzen said — and the Office of Management and Budget would not score the legislation on its own if the CBO analysis is already part of the tax measure.

If the legislation is not accompanied by a CBO estimate, the White House budget office can then move forward with its own projections. The law requires an OMB-compiled estimate to avoid including “changes in economic assumptions,” Lorenzen said.

“Statutory PAYGO cannot use a dynamic estimate from OMB, but it may be possible for Congress to rely on a dynamic estimate from CBO/JCT,” Lorenzen said by email Thursday.

Oct 20, 2017|The Atlantic

Republicans Rally Around Raising the Deficit

“There was a time not long ago when many congressional Republicans demanded a budget that balanced within 10 years,” lamented Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “Today, with their vote, the Senate GOP has turned away from this goal, sprinting in the other direction and instead approving a plan that allows for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts to be added to the national debt.”

Oct 20, 2017|Bloomberg

House GOP to Keep Higher Tax Rate on Wealthy, Ryan Says

Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said on CNBC the decision to allow tax cuts that add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit was a "massive shift" for the Republican party.

"People who don’t care about the deficit and debt are probably cheering about this," she said.

Oct 19, 2017|The Washington Post

Morning Bits

We should be paring down the debt, not expanding it. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: “The United States faces serious fiscal challenges, with high and rising debt for the foreseeable future. Gimmicks make it difficult to take Congress’s commitment to fiscal responsibility seriously. The Senate budget is not fiscally responsible as it relies on gimmicks to artificially improve its numbers and contains very real reconciliation instructions that could add up to $1.5 trillion to the deficit.”

Oct 19, 2017|Newsmax

The Top 10 Reasons for Tax Reform

The Internal Revenue Code contains hundreds of tax breaks worth almost $1.6 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (crfb.org).

Oct 19, 2017|Salon

After health care whiff, GOP looks like it can’t do taxes either

Concerns from Republicans representing Democratic-leaning and swing areas are likely to mean that the GOP will eventually just seek to pass a temporary tax cut, with no regard for its impact on the federal deficit. As things stand, the GOP's current proposal may result in a revenue loss of $2.2 trillion over 10 years, according to an estimate prepared by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonprofit group that supports balanced budgets.

Oct 19, 2017|Newsy

Senate Passes The GOP Budget Bill, Paving The Way For Tax Reform

The budget allows Congress to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years to pay for tax cuts. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says the resolution calls for $4.1 trillion in mandatory savings, but the Senate doesn't specify where that savings will come from. 

Oct 19, 2017|Minnesota Post

In today’s GOP, even disaster relief has become controversial

GOP leaders have not yet specified how, exactly, they will pay for the sweeping tax overhaul they want to pass by the end of the year, but some have claimed that a combination of spending cuts and economic growth will make the plan deficit-neutral in the long run, irking fiscal hard-liners in the party.

A recent study from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found the GOP tax plan could add $2.2 trillion to the deficit every year — assuming that they are able to raise $3.6 trillion in revenue.

Oct 18, 2017|The Washington Post

Trump’s still-wrong claim that the U.S. is the world’s highest-taxed developed nation

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, also using 2014 data, looked at government revenue as a share of the economy. Again, the United States ranks near the bottom of the list — far below the OECD average.

Oct 18, 2017|New York Magazine

Trump Is Afraid His Tax Plan Is Doomed. He Should Be.

But okay: Let’s say the House holds its nose and agrees to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit while resisting the urge to take food away from impoverished children. Even in this rosy scenario, Republican tax writers would still find themselves back in the vicinity of square one. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the GOP’s initial framework for its tax cuts would add $2.2 trillion to the deficit over the next decade — $700 billion more than the Senate resolution allows.

Oct 18, 2017|CNBC

CRFB president: Still a lot of things troubling in tax plan

Michael Zezas, Morgan Stanley U.S. public policy strategist, and Maya MacGuineas, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president, discuss the expectations for tax reform out of Washington.

Oct 18, 2017|National Journal

The Senators Who Will Make or Break Tax Reform

Sen. Bob Corker has been an early foe of deficit-financed tax cuts, saying that he’d vote against any bill that added to the national debt.

A September report by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a spending watchdog, found that the tax framework could balloon the deficit by $2.2 trillion over a decade.

Oct 17, 2017|Axios

GOP corporate tax cuts benefit the wealthy, but could help workers too

The GOP tax plan framework, released last month, almost undoubtedly benefits the wealthy — and that's largely because of the corporate tax provisions. "It's not that this tax plan is a huge direct tax cut to rich individuals, it's that it's a huge tax cut to businesses, and those businesses are owned by rich individuals," said Marc Goldwein of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Oct 17, 2017|LifeZette

The Tax Break for the Rich the Democrats Are Fighting to Keep

The tax break costs the federal government a massive amount of money — a projected $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. And it primarily benefits upper-income taxpayers. According to the Tax Foundation, only 28 percent of taxpayers claim the deduction, and the top 1 percent of taxpayers claim a third of the benefit. Households with incomes less than $100,000 get only 10 percent of the deduction.

"Philosophically, it should be close to a no-brainer," said Marc Goldwein, vice president and policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Oct 17, 2017|Las Vegas Review-Journal

EDITORIAL: Tax cuts get the attention, but what about the spending?

In fiscal 2018, the federal budget is $4.094 trillion. Just two decades ago, in fiscal 1997, Washington spent $1.635 trillion. That’s a 150 percent increase in barely a generation. Simply imposing a freeze on spending for three years — no “cuts,” just spend the same amount over that period — would balance the budget, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget admits.

Oct 15, 2017|Townhall

Do the Math. Tax Cuts Are Bound to Increase the National Debt

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget supports tax reform but has observed that tax cuts in 1981 and the early 2000s widened deficits and figured that for every dollar in cuts, economy activity would have to produce $5 to pay for itself. Don't hold your breath on that score.

Oct 13, 2017|The Hill

GOP eyes big prize for tax bill: Manchin's vote

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscally conservative advocacy group, estimates Trump's plan could add $2.2 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years.

Oct 13, 2017|Washington Examiner

It’s not too late for the Senate to avoid fiscal disaster

That means that any net tax cuts would have to sunset, as did the tax cuts passed by George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003.

As a result, Republicans will have to decide what is in and what is out. So far, the GOP has spelled out roughly $5.8 trillion in tax cuts, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, versus only $3.6 trillion in offsets. That means they have to find $2.2 trillion of cuts to sunset. And if they can't agree to raise revenues by eliminating certain tax breaks, such as the state and local tax deduction, they'll have to sunset more.

Oct 13, 2017|FactCheck.org

Trump Muddles Economic Indicators

But Trump’s suggestion that stock value somehow reduces the national debt is misleading.

“It’s nonsense,” Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Government, told us.

“There is no relationship between the national debt and the value of the stock market, which is the total value of a selection of stocks owned by individuals and being held abroad,” Goldwein said. “It’s just silly. They are totally different economic indicators.”

Oct 12, 2017|Morning Consult

U.S. Can’t Afford a Tax Bill That Worsens National Debt

In fact, the “Big Six” tax framework – a Republican approach to tax reform endorsed by the Freedom Caucus – would likely worsen our nation’s fiscal problems.  Since the release of the “Big Six” framework, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated that the framework in its current form could cost up to $2.2 trillion over the next decade. The Tax Policy Center estimated it would cost $2.4 trillion over the same amount of time.  

Oct 12, 2017|The New York Times

Trump Makes Puzzling Claim That Rising Stock Market Erases Debt

“There seems to be way too much pivoting away from the basic fact that we will have to make some hard choices to get our unsustainable national debt under control,” said Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, in Washington. “A growing stock market is not going to fix that.”

Oct 12, 2017|The Associated Press

AP FACT CHECK: Trump vs. Grassley on Tax Cuts in History

The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found in the spring that Trump's package would be the third largest since 1940. That package has since shrunk, placing it fifth largest at most.

Oct 12, 2017|CBS News

Is Trump right that rising stock market can reduce national debt?

The rise in the stock market alone could have no effect on the nation's debt unless those stocks are sold, at which point those shareholders would pay capital gains taxes to the federal government on their earnings.

And even then, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) makes the point that in 2016, capital gains taxes made up just 4 percent of federal revenue. "Even a record jump in capital gains next year would only reduce further borrowing by about $50 billion," notes CRFB. And that, the group says, is less than 1/10 of what the U.S. is currently projected to borrow next year.

The president is right about a couple of the underlying facts, though. The national debt is about $20.3 trillion. Gross debt, CRFB notes, rose $9.3 trillion under Obama, from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion, although Obama alone isn't responsible for the increased debt.

Oct 12, 2017|The Fiscal Times

Trump’s Head-Scratching Claim About the Stock Market and the National Debt

Trump’s comments did find some defenders, who said Trump wasn't completely off base. MarketWatch’s Steve Goldstein argued that “to a degree, the ability to service the debt has improved because of the stock market’s rise.”

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget was having none of that, noting that capital gains taxes accounted for only 4 percent of total federal revenue last year, and even a record jump next year wouldn't amount to much. In the end, they say, "there is no 'sense' in which higher stock market value led to lower national debt. The two numbers are completely unrelated to each other."

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