RSC chairman laments GOP's waning focus on deficits

RSC chairman laments GOP's waning focus on deficits
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the powerful Republican Study Committee on Thursday lamented that deficit reduction has taken a back seat among GOP concerns now that the party controls the House, Senate and White House.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) told The New York Times that deficit reduction is a more popular "talking point" when Republicans are in the minority in Washington.

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“It’s a great talking point when you have an administration that’s Democrat-led,” the conservative lawmaker said. “It’s a little different now that Republicans have both houses and the administration.”

“There’s been less talk about it this year with a Republican-led administration than there has been the last seven or eight years,” Walker, who is concerned about a tax bill adding to the deficit, told the Times.

Last year, Republicans pointed to the deficit as the most challenging issue Trump would face in office. But that focus on the deficit has largely disappeared since January.

The budget deficit for fiscal 2017 is expected to near $700 billion and the federal debt has topped $20 trillion. According to the Times, Republicans are betting on strong economic growth as a solution to rising debt.

“The only way we’re going to solve our long-term debt and deficit issue to allow the federal government to have the revenue it’s going to need to fund all these promises made is with strong — and I mean strong — economic growth,” Senate Budget Committee member Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonAlabama election has GOP racing against the clock Tax bills speed up global tax race to the bottom Someone besides the president should have the nuclear codes MORE (R-Wis.) told the newspaper.

“You’re not going to achieve that with an awful tax system.”