Sunday, November 23, 2003
From the "party of fiscal responsibility":
posted by lazarus |
As Congress rushes to conclude its 2003 session, Republican leaders are trying to garner votes for controversial legislation by loading the bills with billions of dollars in added costs that analysts said would expand the budget deficit for years to come. The year-end binge has alarmed analysts in Washington and on Wall Street, coming as it does after three years of presidential and congressional initiatives that have both substantially boosted government spending and shrunk its tax base.
"The U.S. budget is out of control," the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs & Co. warned Friday in its weekly newsletter to clients.
In the final days of the congressional session, GOP leaders added billions of dollars to energy and Medicare bills to help persuade key factions to support the legislation. Overall, the energy bill would cost $33 billion and the Medicare bill $400 billion.
Less noticed were congressional moves to expand veterans' benefits by $22 billion and increase spending on forest-thinning projects from $420 million a year to $760 million to ensure passage of forest legislation promoted by the White House. Lawmakers are also trying to extend 14 expiring tax cuts through 2004, at a cost to the Treasury of more than $7 billion.
All those actions come in the face of a federal budget deficit already projected to rise from a record $374 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 to close to or above $500 billion in the current fiscal year.