The tax bill that Republicans are muscling through Congress could result in cuts to entitlement spending if it significantly increases the national debt, budget experts say.
Republicans say the tax-cut package will lead to economic growth and greater tax revenues, but there are doubts even within their party about whether that growth will come to pass.
The Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s official budget scorekeeper, estimated the bill would cost $1 trillion over a decade even with economic growth taken into account. Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSusan Collins is swing vote on tax bill Top GOP senators say they have the votes to pass tax bill Angus King on GOP tax push: ‘To call this a circus would be an insult to circuses’ MORE (R-Tenn.) opposed the bill for that reason.
As the population ages and health-care costs continue to rise, the fiscal demands on entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are projected to grow. The projected increase in the debt from the tax package could make the situation worse, budget experts say.
“In the past when members of Congress have been concerned about the debt, they’ve turned to these programs, so it’s not a stretch to see that they turn there in the foreseeable future,” said Tricia Neuman, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“If we are talking about the kinds of deficits” that are projected from the tax bill, “entitlement cuts are definitely on the table,” said William Hoagland, a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.