Colorado senator pushes plan to limit U.S. deficit
August 6, 2009
DENVER – Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has introduced legislation to limit the U.S. deficit, which the White House expects will hit $1.85 trillion for the year ending Sept. 30.
It’s unclear how much support the proposal has. The freshman Democrat is seeking co-sponsors for the bill.
The Congressional Budget Office has forecast the budget deficit for this year could equal about 13 percent of the gross domestic product, which measures goods and services.
Under the bill introduced Thursday, the deficit in fiscal 2012 would have to stay below 4 percent of the GDP and 3 percent of the GDP beginning in fiscal 2013. Also, yearly appropriations couldn’t increase more than the rate of inflation.
If the limits are broken, there would be uniform budget cuts across government, with exemptions for Social Security, veterans programs and some other categories. The limits could be waived during recessions or national emergencies.
Bennet’s proposal comes as President Obama aims for an overhaul of health care that wouldn’t add to the deficit over the next decade. Bennet said his bill ties into the reform effort, since Medicare costs are one of the biggest drivers of the deficit.
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“If we pass health care reform in a way that fails to manage costs, we’ve missed an enormous opportunity,” Bennet said.
Bennet also supports pending legislation for a “pay as you go” system, which would require new tax cuts and government spending to be offset with cuts to programs or higher revenues elsewhere.