Since taking office in January 2017, President Donald Trump has signed pieces of legislation that have added $4.7 trillion to the national debt, a federal budget watchdog said in a grim analysis Thursday that warns of record debt levels in the near future.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said since its prior analysis last summer, new policy has added an additional $600 billion to the debt -- much of it from appropriations bills passed by Congress and signed by the president last month.
The watchdog report estimates the debt figure based on a time window starting in 2017 and ending in 2029. The $4.7 trillion is on top of the existing $17.2 trillion already held by the public, and $9.2 trillion the United States is expected to borrow over the next decade.
The committee said the additional debt under Trump is split evenly between tax and spending policy changes. The report also said the president and Congress share the responsibility for growing the debt.
"There is little the president can do to impact the debt, positively or negatively, without a bill passed by Congress. Conversely there is little Congress can do without the president's signature or a veto-proof supermajority," the CRFB said in a statement.
"In reality, both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government share blame, not just for passing new legislation that adds to the debt, but also for failing to address existing problems like the growing cost of entitlement programs or insufficient revenues that have added to the debt for years."
Of the additional $4.7 trillion, the biggest chunk -- $1.8 trillion -- came from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the committee said. The 2019 budget added $1.7 trillion and the 2018 budget added $445 billion. Appropriations for 2020 added $500 billion and the remaining $165 billion came from a mixture of other legislation.
The CRFB projected debt to be about 97 percent of the gross domestic product in 2029, up from 82 percent without the additional $4.7 trillion in debt added since 2017.
The watchdog said debt is increasing on an "unsustainable path."
"Thanks to legislation passed since 2017, the nation is facing trillion-dollar annual deficits for the foreseeable future without action is almost certain to surpass the record debt levels set after World War II in the coming years.
"As we begin 2020, lawmakers should make a new year's resolution to consider budget offsets for any new spending or tax cut proposals, reform the TCJA from a budget-buster into a pro-growth tax reform, and make sure our nation's health and retirement programs are adequately funded for future generations."
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