GAO: Congress, Administration Should Focus on Establishing Long-Term Fiscal Strategy

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that Congress and the administration implement a long-term fiscal strategy after the COVID-19 pandemic to help the country maintain its position to meet its social and security requirements and address public health emergencies and other future events.

“In developing a fiscal plan, policymakers will need to consider the entire range of federal activities, both revenue (including tax expenditures) and spending (entitlement programs, other mandatory spending, and discretionary spending) that affect the debt path,” GAO said in a report published Tuesday.

GAO listed several key considerations for developing and implementing fiscal rules and targets, including alignment with fiscal policy goals and objectives, design tradeoffs and features, legal framework and permanence and integration with budgetary processes.

According to the report, there are other opportunities for Congress and executive agencies to improve the country’s fiscal health and those are reducing the gap between taxes paid and owed, addressing improper payments and implementing additional reforms.

The congressional watchdog found that debt held by the public rose from about 79 percent of gross domestic product in fiscal year 2019 to approximately 100 percent in FY 2020.

“Absent any action, debt held by the public is projected to surpass 200 percent of GDP by 2048,” the GAO report reads.

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