Debt Limit Resolution Green-Lights Too Much Red Ink

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NTU urges all Senators and Representatives to vote "NO" on S. J. Res. 33, providing for a $2.5 trillion increase in the debt limit. While NTU believes Congress must address the statutory debt limit and avoid a catastrophic default scenario, we are deeply concerned that the $2.5 trillion increase provided for in this resolution is far larger than it should be. We are also troubled that the debt limit agreement reached recently does not include any meaningful path to spending and budget process reforms that are urgently needed and long overdue in Congress. We encourage lawmakers to instead pursue a smaller debt limit increase and ensure that any increase or suspension of the debt limit is accompanied by meaningful deficit reduction and budget process reform efforts.

For months, NTU has called on Congress to avoid debt limit brinkmanship, while also pairing any debt limit increase or suspension with meaningful reform of the federal government’s out of control spending habits and lawmakers’ broken budget process. S. J. Res. 33 does not include any of these spending and budget process reforms. Instead, it increases the debt limit by $2.5 trillion, which -- surely to taxpayers’ dismay -- will require Congress to again raise (or suspend) the debt limit in about one year’s time. It would be better for Congress to reach a bipartisan deal that raises or suspends the debt ceiling with spending and budget process reforms mentioned above. Options that NTU and others have suggested before include a new round of discretionary spending caps, a stronger mandatory sequester, a move to biennial budgeting, and more. Many of these ideas have bipartisan support -- they just lack legislative champions and forward momentum in Congress.

We are also concerned that S. J. Res. 33 will pave the way for additional debt front-loaded into the Build Back Better Act. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House-passed version of this legislation promises hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes that are back-loaded to the latter years of a 10-year window, in exchange for hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending that is front-loaded and full of deceptive sunsets and phase-downs. The $2.5 trillion debt limit increase in S. J. Res. 33 could cover tens of billions of dollars in debt that Build Back Better will incur in fiscal (FY) 2022 and the first part of FY 2023.

Roll call votes on S. J. Res. 33 will be included in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Director of Federal Policy Andrew Lautz at