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During a hearing today on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) recent report on the nation’s budget and economic outlook, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, shared his concerns about the federal government’s automatic spending programs that are growing rapidly, and currently account for almost 70 percent of the budget. Enzi noted that in less than 20 years, automatic spending will consume all the taxes and revenues the federal government collects.  

“After eight years of failed fiscal policies and wasteful and unaccountable spending, America is faced with a mammoth national debt that totals almost $20 trillion and a sluggish economy that is holding back growth,” Enzi said.  “Dedicated taxes and fees currently are paying for less than half of total mandatory spending.  As more of our workforce becomes eligible to retire, the shortfall between benefits paid by dedicated revenue will only increase. Where does the growing difference come from?  It either has to be stolen from the future or taken from the present.”

The recent CBO Budget and Economic Outlook report states that 70 percent of the total increase in spending over the next 10 years is from Social Security, Medicare, and net interest on America’s debt.  Social Security taxes will stop paying for benefits in two years, which will result in a $1.6 trillion deficit by 2027.  Medicare will be in the red in three years.

“Little has been done to relieve the pressure of our debt on America’s economy and a good deal more to make it worse over the past eight years,” Enzi said.  “We are left today with enormous debt and little evidence that we are prepared at all for the troubling future CBO has been warning against for decades. Congress must provide oversight over the 30 percent of government spending controlled through the annual appropriations process in order to carefully consider how taxpayer dollars are spent.”