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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 13, 2000


                       PAYS OFF THE DEBT BY 2013
                             April 13, 2000

President Clinton will urge Congress to pass a fiscally disciplined budget that invests in key priorities, extends the life of Social Security and Medicare, and pays off the debt held by the public by 2013. In contrast, the Congressional Budget Resolution expected to be adopted by the Republican majority requires deep reductions in key priorities like education, threatens to drain the Social Security surplus, fails to add a single day to the life of Medicare or Social Security, would make it impossible to pay off the debt by 2013, and puts at risk our unprecedented economic prosperity.

The Congress Has Already Passed Tax Cuts That Spend More than Half of the On-budget Surplus. Before even considering investments in Medicare, Social Security, or education, the House has already passed tax cuts that total more than $374 billion over 10 years. With interest, that would use more than $458 billion of the surplus. The Senate -- including the marriage penalty bill currently being debated -- is at $404 billion in total tax cuts, or $492 billion with interest. Either way this uses more than half of the $746 billion non-Social Security surplus projected by the Administration or the $893 billion projected by the Congressional Budget Office over the next 10 years.

By Suddenly Switching to a 5-year Budget Resolution, Congress Hides the Cost of Tax Cuts. By using five year numbers, the Congressional budget resolution hides the true cost of the Republican tax cuts, doing nothing to constrain their growth after 2005. Republican leaders, however, have indicated that their total tax cuts would cost at least as much as last year's, which with interest would have cost nearly $1 trillion over 10 years. In breaking with the practice of putting forth ten year budget resolutions, the Republican Congress is turning its back on an essential tool to ensure that the choices we make today are consistent with addressing our long-term fiscal challenges.

The Budget Resolution Would Cut Most of Domestic Discretionary Spending By an Average of About 10 Percent in 2001 Alone. While the President's budget provides significant investments in essential priorities, including education, law enforcement and science and technology, the Republican budget would dramatically cut these priorities. The budget resolution has non-defense discretionary spending for FY 2001 of $289 billion -- $7 billion below spending in 2000 and $20 billion below the level needed to maintain current program levels. The Republicans have announced their intention to protect funding for certain areas including defense, veterans' health and the National Institutes of Health. To do so within the total level of funding allocated by the Budget Resolution, however, they would need to slash funding for most other domestic priorities by an average of about 10 per cent in 2001 alone. If Republicans continued spending cuts at the same rate as 2001-05, then the cut in domestic priorities would grow to, on average, about 25 percent by 2010.

If These Unrealistic Spending Cuts Do Not Materialize, the Republican Budget Would Spend $67 Billion of the Social Security Surplus in the First Five Years Alone. The budget resolution proposes $175 billion of tax cuts over 5 years. With interest, the cost would be $194 billion -- more than the Congressional Budget Office's projected $171 billion 5-year non-Social Security surplus. If $40 billion is used for Medicare, the Republican tax cut would spend $67 billion of the Social Security surplus over the first five years alone.

The Republican Budget Does Not Add a Single Day to the Solvency of Social Security or Medicare.

The Fiscally Undisciplined Republican Tax Cut Would Make It Impossible To Pay Off the Debt By 2013 and Would Risk Our Economic Expansion. Even with their drastic spending cuts, the Republicans have only set aside $12 billion for debt reduction from the non-Social Security surplus. If the drastic Republican spending cuts were not implemented, the Republicans would be forced to divert a sizeable portion of the Social Security surplus away from debt reduction. As a result, it would be impossible to pay off the debt held by the public by 2013.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore Have Proposed a Balanced and Fiscally Responsible Plan to Strengthen Social Security and Medicare, Pay Off the National Debt by 2013 and Maintain Our Economic Prosperity, While Investing in Key Priorities like Health and Education.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore's Plans Build on Their Record of Success. When President Clinton and Vice President Gore were elected, they implemented an economic plan which consisted of restoring fiscal discipline, investing in people, and opening markets abroad. The current budget builds on the successes of that plan: