GOP tax bill helped balloon the deficit by $1.6 trillion, CBO finds


The federal deficit is set to pass the $1 trillion mark by 2020, in part due to the Republican tax bill signed into law in 2017, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report Monday.

The tax bill will add roughly $1.6 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years, according to the CBO, which also said the federal deficit has “increased markedly” since the agency last issued projections in June.

The findings run counter to promises made by the Trump administration that the GOP tax bill would pay for itself. The findings also seem to contradict the deficit crusade Republicans went on during former President Barack Obama’s tenure.

The CBO estimated that by 2028, debt will reach 96% of the country’s gross domestic product, which is the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S. The CBO also said the rising debt would have “serious negative consequences for the budget and the nation,” among them the increasing likelihood of “a “fiscal crisis in the United States.”

The ratio of debt to GDP could be even worse if Congress makes permanent the individual tax cuts from the tax bill — which are currently set to expire after 2025. Republicans are currently writing a bill that would make those individual cuts permanent.

House Republicans are planning to vote this week on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which would forbid Congress from spending more federal tax dollars than it receives unless three-fifths of both the House and Senate vote to allow it.

The amendment, however, is largely seen as a political ploy that is unlikely to pass the Senate or become law. Balancing the budget would require either raising taxes to boost revenue or cutting entitlement spending such as Social Security, Medicare or even veterans’ disability payments, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said entitlement cuts are unlikely to happen in 2018.