Chairman Whitehouse Statement on CBO Outlook

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, issued a statement following the annual release of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Budget and Economic Outlook and a projection that the debt limit must be raised “between July and September” or the federal government would default on its debt. 

“Today’s CBO Outlook shows just how far we have come from the depths of the pandemic recession; it shows the importance of investments in workers and families to promote economic strength and stability. 

“There is more work to do to cut costs for American families and address rising inequality, but the American Rescue Plan helped bring unemployment down to 3.4%, and CBO projects inflation will be 3% by 2024. After the Great Recession, it took 6 years for unemployment to get down below 5%. Thanks to pandemic relief, it took just 18 months after the pandemic recession. 

“Republican harping on the deficit after giving away trillions to wealthy and corporations is a weird episode of selective memory. Republicans sold out the middle class and amped up the deficit to pass Trump’s tax giveaways for wealthy donors and help huge corporations send jobs overseas. Democrats, on the other hand, passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which CBO now projects will reduce deficits by $299 billion over the next ten years. And we did it by asking large corporations to pay their fair share, cracking down on tax cheats, and reducing prescription drug costs.

“As we discussed at this morning’s Senate Budget Committee hearing, 40% of our total debt stems from ‘exogenous’ crises: the 2008 financial crisis and the covid pandemic. If Republicans were serious about the debt, they would be serious about solving our next exogenous crisis—climate upheaval and resulting economic instability.

“If Republicans cared more about reducing deficits than rewarding their campaign contributors with tax cuts, they wouldn’t be trying to make those tax cuts permanent at a cost of nearly $3 trillion. But they are.

“They wouldn’t be opposing legislation to close loopholes that help companies offshore jobs, which could raise up to $1 trillion. But they are.

“They wouldn’t be threatening a debt default, which would drive up borrowing costs for households and risk a financial crisis that dwarfs the Great Recession. But they are.

“And they would not be fighting Democrats over investments to strengthen our communities and improve our nation’s health and well-being. But they are. Time and again, they vote against the middle class, against affordable access to health care, and against clean energy.”