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Congress approved $2.4 trillion in additional debt during fiscal year 2018: Watchdog

Congress approved $2.4 trillion in additional debt during fiscal year 2018: Watchdog

Congress approved $2.4 trillion in debt during fiscal year 2018, according to an analysis published this week by the watchdog group Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFRB).

The figure, which covers the total debt that legislation passed in FY 2018 will add through 2027, is largely driven by two pieces of legislation: the GOP tax law and a bipartisan spending agreement.

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The added debt includes $445 billion in new projected deficit spending for 2019, accounting for 46 percent of the expected deficit for the fiscal year. Of that, $228 billion will result from the December 2017 tax law, $188 billion from the spending increase.

Fiscal year 2018 ended on Sept. 30.

In April, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that debt held by the public would rise from $14.6 trillion in 2017 to $27.1 trillion in 2027.

“At a time when debt is already at record-high levels and growing unsustainably, the $2.4 trillion added to the projected debt over the past year is incredibly irresponsible," CFRB wrong in a blog post. "These changes alone will increase projected debt from 86 percent of GDP to 94 percent."

In 2019, the federal deficit will climb to $973 billion, according to CRFB.

Trump administration officials have insisted that the tax law will ultimately bring down the deficit due to economic growth, a conclusion that's been rejected by many budget watchers as well as some official bodies such as the CBO.

Increasing levels of debt are expected to raise interest payments, meaning more resources in the future will be devoted to paying down the debt and the interest instead of funding other government functions.