Republicans in search of a deficit trigger are ignoring the one already in place.
As Senate Republicans barrel toward a tax vote, lawmakers worried about the national debt are in search of some kind of last-minute fix — except no one knows what that fix will be.
The idea is still in a conceptual stage: If the rosy deficit forecasts from this tax bill prove to be inaccurate, and the economy does not grow as fast as Republican leaders are saying it will, then they want a trigger mechanism in place to in some way address that.
Matt Yglesias explained how that would work in theory, but “in practice, the economic impact of some kind of backstop provision is going to hinge on the implementation details.” Those details are far from final.
“Anything you’ve heard you can take off the table because it’s evolving,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), one of the leading deficit hawks in these talks, told reporters Wednesday night.
The Senate tax bill has made deficit hawks uneasy in recent week. The proposal offers massive tax cuts for corporations, reduced rates, and a doubling of the standard deduction — all of which is difficult to square with the reluctance to make sweeping changes elsewhere to pay for the cuts.
All told, the bill would increase the deficit by $1.4 trillion in the first 10 years, and then uses budget gimmicks and rosy math to make it seem like the national debt is untouched in the long run. Though many have waved away concerns in favor of getting a tax bill done, some conservative purists, like Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), James Lankford (R-OK), and Corker, have signaled that the plan isn’t fiscally conscious enough.
And so they’ve floated a deficit trigger plan — one that in the past 24 hours has Read More Here