WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, President Biden will present his latest budget request to Congress. He will offer what his administration calls $2 trillion in plans for reducing deficits and future growth.
Republicans who demand spending cuts to increase the country's borrowing limit will likely respond with the familiar refrain: It is Mr. Biden and his party that are responsible for the ballooning debt.
An analysis of the voting records of the House and Senate and fiscal estimates of legislation prepared nonpartisanally by the Congressional Budget Office shows that Republicans are at least equally responsible for the largest drivers of federal debt growth in the two previous presidential administrations.
From just under $6 trillion in 2000 to $31.4 trillion today, the national debt has risen to an astounding $31.4 trillion. This is well above the federal borrowing limit. This increase was sustained by tax cuts and wars as well as rising costs for retirement and health care. Republicans and Democrats have teamed up in Congress to pass a number of spending increases and tax reductions that, according to the budget office, will increase the debt by trillions.
This analysis is based upon the C.B.O. forecasts. The C.B.O. regularly releases forecasts for the federal budget. These reports include descriptions of new legislation that has an impact on spending, revenues, and deficits. They also show the cost of these new laws over the span of a decade. These reports, which go back to Trump's beginning, highlight 13 new laws, as outlined by the C.B.O. According to projections, the combined debt will rise to $11.5 trillion.
Nearly three quarters of the new debt was approved by bills that were supported by a majority of Republicans at least in one chamber of Congress. Trump signed three-fifths thereof into law.
Some of these bills were necessary in an emergency, such as the initial rounds of stimulus payments to individuals and businesses during the pandemic. Some were routine appropriations bills that increased spending on defense and domestic issues such as education and research.
Many votes were bipartisan. More than 85 percent was passed with the support of a majority of Democrats in both chambers. Nearly the same amount of debt was passed with at least one third of Republican votes in either the House or Senate. They included a number of Covid-19 relief measures, totaling over $3 trillion, which were passed with overwhelming majorities in 2020.
Some laws were passed entirely on party lines. These cases saw Republicans add slightly more debt to the total than Democrats.
Trump's sweeping tax cuts for individuals and corporations, which totaled $2 trillion, are the reason. The C.B.O. found that tax cuts were not only cost-effective, but also paid for their costs. Analyses show that the entire list of tax cuts has already cost the government $1.2 trillion by the end of the 2022 fiscal year.
The price of tax cuts was more expensive than the cost of two most consequential fiscal bills that Mr. Biden or Democrats passed along party lines, a $1.9 trillion economic assistance bill in 2021, and a climate and health and tax bill, both approved late last summer. These bills are projected to reduce future deficits by almost $300 billion.
California's House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other prominent Republicans are leading the resistance to raising borrowing limits. However, they voted against large spending bills that were supported by Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden by other Republicans. They also voted to fund trillions of dollars in Pandemic Aid under Donald Trump and backed his tax cuts.
The 2017 tax cuts have been extended by the House Republicans, adding trillions of dollars to the debt. They support tax increases being reversed and tax enforcement measures that are more aggressively enforced by Mr. Biden. If they succeed, this would result in hundreds of billions of dollars being added to the deficit.
Top congressional Republicans are reluctant to acknowledge the role their party played in increasing deficits and debts in recent years. Instead, they blame Mr. Biden or Democrats.
Representative Jodey of Texas, who chairs House Budget Committee, stated last month that "Biden's many bailouts, massive government expansion disguised under Covid relief have blown out spending, and exacerbated the debt disaster."
Republican candidates have been criticised by their party for not being more strict on debt and spending beyond Congress. According to Politico, Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor who was also a United Nations ambassador, said that the last two Republican presidents have added more than $10 trillion in national debt. Think about it. Only two Republicans were responsible for a third of our debt.
Biden administration officials accuse Mr. Trump and ex-President George W. Bush of running up debt, especially with tax cuts. They take credit for the decline in the deficit budget under Mr. Biden's administration, even though it was mostly due to the fact that the federal government stopped passing emergency aid bills after the pandemic had subsided.
On Sunday, Mr. Biden tweeted that he was not going to listen to the MAGA Republicans in Congress lecturing him about fiscal responsibility.
The math of the budget office is not sparing: It shows that both sides have acted together to increase debt and deficits in recent years.
Because of an oversight in the C.B.O.'s accounting, the actual amount may be much lower. Two bills are included in the account: Mr. Biden's infrastructure bill signed in 2021, and legislation passed last year to expand healthcare for military veterans who have been exposed to toxic burn pits. This quirk requires that the budget office assumes certain spending will continue indefinitely, even though Congress hasn't authorized it to. It could lead to bills costing nearly $1.3 trillion.
According to the legislation, nearly $400 billion could be spent twice. The bill basically shifts large amounts of veterans' spending from discretionary spending which Congress approves each year to mandatory spending which runs on autopilot. Although the budget office acknowledges the mandatory spending, it assumes that Congress will not reduce discretionary veterans spending in a proportionate manner. C.B.O. estimates that tapering won't happen and that inflation will continue to rise in the future.
However, Mr. Biden has not only signed laws but also added to the national debt. Independent experts warn that he has taken unilateral actions that could result in the federal government spending hundreds of billions of money. This includes his plan to forgo student loan debts for many borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year. According to budget office estimates, the plan, currently in limbo because it is being challenged by the Supreme Court, will add $400 billion to the deficits over 30 years.
According to estimates by the budget office, Mr. Trump signed nearly $7 trillion in debt-related laws during his four-year term. This number does not include the cost to make permanent individual tax cuts that were passed in 2017 and set to expire after 2025. C.B.O. Assumes that these cuts will expire as planned.
McCarthy acknowledged that Trump signed the law with the support of Republicans and Democrats in Congress. He has blamed President Trump for continuing spending, and made it clear that House Republicans will demand drastic cuts in return for increasing the debt limit.
When asked by Margaret Brennan, CBS News, in January, about the amount of debt Mr. Trump incurred, McCarthy responded, "You had a Pandemic." These programs are cut as the pandemic falls. It has been a pleasure to see the president claim that he reduced it. It is actually spending $500 billion more that was expected. They have spent more. We have to end this waste.