WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Orrin Hatch, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said that the Congressional Budget Office’s long-term budget outlook, published Tuesday, should serve as a “call to action” to take up meaningful structural entitlement reforms as a part of the debt ceiling negotiations. Earlier this year, Hatch introduced five bipartisan reform ideas that he has presented to President Obama, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
“The White House would like the world to think that negotiating over the debt limit has never happened before, when, in fact, the president was negotiating over raising it just a couple of years ago. The White House would also like the world to think that the nation’s debt isn’t a problem, when, as the CBO says today, our debt, fueled by the rapid growth of our entitlement programs, is on an unsustainable path. The White House would like everyone to believe that we just need a little more revenue, when CBO found that revenue will be higher than it’s been over the past four decades,” Hatch said.
“There is no way to ignore these facts, but that’s what the White House appears to be doing. Earlier this year, I unveiled five bipartisan entitlement reform ideas that should be a part of any fiscal discussions this Fall. The time to get serious is now. America – our seniors, our children and grandchildren – can’t afford a White House that chooses to whistle past the graveyard of our country’s fiscal health and the tremendous weight that our debt is around the neck of a robust, long-term economic revival.”
The Congressional Budget Office found that America’s debt is a threat to economic growth and private sector investment. The Congressional Budget Office also said that federal entitlement programs are the chief source of America’s debt, reaching more than 14 percent of gross domestic product by 2038, putting federal investments in other areas at serious risk. The Congressional Budget Office found that revenue would be higher under current law than over the past four decades.
Hatch’s five entitlement reform proposals include raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, modernizing the Medigap program, simplifying Medicare beneficiary cost sharing and establishing a catastrophic limit, allowing Medicare competitive bidding and strengthening Medicaid program through per capita caps.
An analysis by the Senate Finance Committee minority staff on Tuesday’s CBO report can be found here.
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Submitted by the Office of Sen. Orrin Hatch