Harry Reid’s UI Plan Increases Deficit by $17B
Thursday night on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid proclaimed, “I’m disappointed for a number of reasons, not the least of which is we gave the Republicans what they wanted. It’s entirely paid for.” There is just one small problem: the bill is not paid for – not even close. According to a preliminary estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would increase deficits by $17.2 billion over the next decade (nearly all of which would occur in 2014).
In a footnote, the CBO explains “In addition to the changes in direct spending detailed above, Section 8 of the amendment would produce outlay savings of $18.1 billion for mandatory programs over the 2024‐2025 period by extending for one additional year the automatic spending reductions required by the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.” Reid’s contention that his plan is “entirely paid for” relies on adding an 11th year to the traditional ten-year budget scoring window.
While Reid’s pay for gimmick is meant to secure a political talking point, it also obscures the larger issue of the emergency unemployment benefits themselves. Heritage Action is opposed to an extension of the emergency unemployment benefits because “even if lawmakers attempt to offset this new spending with real cuts elsewhere, they would still be throwing taxpayer money at an ineffective and wasteful program.” As Speaker Boehner said this morning, “instead of making it easier to find a good-paying job, Washington has been more focused on making it less difficult to live without one.”