The director of the budget office, Phillip L. Swagel, briefed lawmakers about deficit projections on Wednesday at the Capitol, warning they would eventually need to raise taxes, cut spending or both in order to mitigate rising debt. The office’s projections “suggest that, over the long term, changes in fiscal policy would need to be made to address the rising costs of interest and mitigate other adverse consequences of high and rising debt,” Mr. Swagel wrote in a slide deck presented to lawmakers.
From 2024 to 2033, the budget office projects, deficits will total more than $20 trillion, driving gross federal debt to nearly $52 trillion.
Mr. Biden’s proposals, if enacted in full, would reduce that growth by about 15 percent. They are not likely to be. Republicans have tried already this year to repeal tax increases and the Medicare prescription drug savings measures he signed last year.
Through new laws he has signed and executive actions he has issued, Mr. Biden has approved policies that would add about $5 trillion to the national debt over a decade, according to estimates by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in Washington. Those include his 2021 economic aid law and debt relief for certain student loan borrowers, which is under challenge at the Supreme Court.
It is unclear how Mr. Biden settled on the ultimate figure of nearly $3 trillion for his budget’s deficit reduction, or to what extent he agrees with Republicans who claim that the nation’s current levels of debt and deficits pose a risk to the economy.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, did not directly answer a reporter’s questions this week on how Mr. Biden arrived at his preferred level of deficit reduction or whether the path of growth in the national debt is hurting the economy.
“The president understands his fiscal responsibility. He understands how important it is to lower the deficit,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.
“He’s going to put forward a fiscal budget that is going to be responsible,” she added.
Catie Edmondson, Carl Hulse and Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.