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 23, 2017|CNBC

Trump’s shiny tax-cut plan has a $1.5 trillion problem

"This is wishful thinking replacing responsible budgeting," says Maya MacGuineas, who directs the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. "It's going to end us up with a mountain of debt."

Oct 23, 2017|Los Angeles Times

Trump tweets that Senate budget approval 'is a really big deal'

Trump's claim relating to the size of his proposed tax cut is not accurate. His tax plan is, at most, fifth-largest in its estimated cost, says Marc Goldwein of the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. It could end up being even lower on the ladder historically.

The estimated cost of the tax plan has dropped by half or more since the spring, when only the general contours were known. In an analysis in April, Goldwein's group found that the $5.5-trillion plan that was then expected would have been the third-largest since 1940 as a share of gross domestic product, behind Ronald Reagan's package in 1981 and tax cuts enacted in 1945 to phase out revenue generated for World War II. 

But, citing estimated costs of $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion for Trump's plan now, Goldwein said several other historically significant tax cuts also would surpass Trump's: from 2013 and 1964.

Oct 22, 2017|National Journal

Outlook: On the Budget, It’s the House’s Turn at Bat

The Senate budget calls for $1.5 trillion in deficit-financed tax cuts. That’s a lot of spending, but it may not be enough. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a spending watchdog, said the current tax framework—a broad outline of the GOP tax plan released in September—could increase the deficit by $2.2 trillion over a decade. And if tax writers cede ground on the state and local deduction or other provisions, they’ll have to find revenue elsewhere.

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 20, 2017|Politico

What to watch on the GOP budget and tax reform

Corker says he's willing to grant the $500 billion he figures it would cost to make permanent various temporary tax provisions currently in the tax code, contending they should not count against the tax plan because lawmakers would probably extend them anyway. (The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget believes the cost of extending those provisions is actually more like $200 billion).

Oct 20, 2017|CNBC

Grover Norquist: All major parts of tax reform will be enacted

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform president, and Maya MacGuineas, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president, discuss the GOP efforts to push through tax reform.

Oct 20, 2017|The New York Times

U.S. Budget Deficit Swells, Adding Wrinkle to G.O.P. Push for Tax Cut

Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said on Friday that it was startling how Republicans had given up caring about deficits now that they finally had the power to curb government spending.

“The contrast between the growing deficit, which is back into troubling territory, with the blatant disregard for policies that are going to increase the debt is stunning and definitely bodes poorly for the economy,” she said.

Oct 20, 2017|PolitiFact

Do moderate-income families benefit more from the state and local tax deduction?

Part of this stems from the reality that a $1,000 deduction would be worth $396 to someone in the top 39.6 percent tax bracket, while the same $1,000 deduction would be worth $250 to someone in the 25 percent bracket, said Patrick Newton, a spokesman for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

"So not only do the wealthy claim more of the deduction, they get more value for the deductions they do claim," Newton said.

Oct 20, 2017|The Nation

Senate Republicans Are Trying to Give the 1 Percent a $1.9 Trillion Tax Break

Baldwin, a Wisconsinite who traces her politics to another populist movement of the upper Midwest (that of the Wisconsin progressives who supported Senator Robert M. La Follette’s battles against wealth and privilege), proposed an amendment that focused on the fiscal irresponsibility of the GOP scheme. She sought to reinstate a Senate rule that would effectively prevent Republicans from increasing the deficit in order to fund tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Proponents of sound budgeting hailed the Wisconsinite’s proposal, with Maya MacGuineas, the president of the Committee for a Responsible Budget, declaring that:

The amendment offered by Senator Baldwin would restore a shield to prevent reconciliation from being used to add to the debt. It is fiscal common sense and important especially now as lawmakers confront growing debt.

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 (

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.