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“I’d like to raise the alarm on this one. This is a really irresponsible bill,” Maya MacGuineas told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday.
The House’s budget is composed of two bills totaling $1.4 trillion. One bill provides a total of $860.3 billion in funding for national defense, science, the departments of Commerce, Justice and Homeland Security as well as appropriations for financial services, according to The Heritage Foundation.
The other spending bill is intended for “domestic priorities,” according to the think tank, namely departments and agencies including Labor; Health and Human Services; Education; Agriculture; Energy and Water; Interior and Environment; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
“And now they’re throwing in a whole lot of tax cuts — none of them paid for — all going to increase the national debt to the tune of half a trillion dollars. And so this is the way things are working in Washington now. Nobody wants to make choices. Nobody wants to pay for things,” MacGuineas said.
Instead, she argued the House should have passed a “clean budget bill” under which representatives constrained themselves to the spending levels they had set, not spending on “unrelated things.” She added that Congress should have voted on tax cuts the way it generally does without hiding them in “Christmas tree legislation.”
MacGuineas argued that the current strength of the U.S. economy makes now precisely the time to get the nation’s fiscal house in order allowing for deficit spending in times of recession. The U.S. currently has the biggest deficit it has ever had in times of such economic strength, she added.
These spending measures are purely discretionary, meaning they don’t address the two-thirds of the budget that is on “automatic pilot,” according to MacGuineas. This automatic spending is mainly on Social Security and entitlement spending.
“We need to focus on entitlement spending. The biggest threats to our budget are aging of the population and growing health care costs. Those show up in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We’ve made promises in those programs, which right now we don’t have the financing to keep,” MacGuineas said.
She described the current situation as an “arms race” between the Republican and Democratic parties to see who can give away more free stuff.
“This is about politics, not policy, and that is why our budget no longer makes kind of cohesive sense,” she said.
Despite potential issues, the new spending bill is not all bad. “Lots of the thing things in the spending bill make sense — we should be willing to pay for those — others, we should be willing to pull back and cut,” MacGuineas said.