Republicans are learning that the easiest way to solve a problem in Washington is with money. Lots of it.
Back in full control of the levers of government, the party that long espoused fiscal prudence is paving the way for substantial new federal spending that — combined with Republicans' sweeping tax cut — is projected to send America's deficit to record highs.
The Treasury Department says it will need to borrow more than $1 trillion in each of the next two fiscal years, driven in part by the expectation of lower revenues from the new tax law Congress rushed to pass last year. That figure doesn't factor in the reported $300 billion in increased spending that Senate leadership is negotiating as part of a two-year deal to fund the government. Washington will also need to raise the national debt ceiling before the end of net month.
"I think we do have a very unsustainable, dangerous fiscal outlook that will hurt our economy and hurt the prospects for the next generation," said Michael Peterson, chief executive of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a fiscal think tank. "The current wave of activity is making matters worse."