Greenstein on the Shutdown-Debt Limit Deal

October 16, 2013 at 4:45 pm

CBPP President Robert Greenstein has issued the following statement on today’s agreement:

The budget agreement that Senate leaders announced today marks an important victory for the principle that shutting down the government and threatening national default aren’t acceptable ways for either party to pursue policy concessions and should always be rejected.  Congress should approve the agreement without delay, and President Obama should sign it.

Fortunately, those who helped engineer the shutdown and threatened a default failed to achieve their policy goals, and their approach met strong public disapproval.  Had they won concessions, the tactics of shutting down the government and threatening default could have become standard features of the budget process, weakening our political system and creating damaging and unnecessary uncertainty for the economy.

In the budget negotiations that the President and Congress have agreed to begin, they should pursue measures that promote a stronger economic recovery, improve the nation’s fiscal situation over the medium and long term, and do not increase poverty or inequality.

Those negotiations hold both promise and risk.  The ill-timed sequestration cuts are slowing economic growth, worsening unemployment, and harming broadly supported public services.  That argues for replacing sequestration with a more balanced deficit-reduction package.  Some policymakers, however, may seek to replace sequestration with even more harmful cuts, including ones targeted on vulnerable Americans, or push for revenue-neutral tax reform, which would ignore the need for additional revenue to do its part in helping to address long-term deficits.

A sound package that puts us on a more sustainable fiscal path, bolsters the economic recovery, and protects vulnerable Americans is possible.  Policymakers should strive for it.  At the same time, with near-term deficits on a downward trajectory, they should turn aside deals that do not meet these basic tests.  We hope that policymakers can bring some of the statesmanship that ultimately helped produce today’s deal to the coming negotiations and produce a broader agreement that’s sound in terms of both its immediate effects and its longer-term impacts.

Print Friendly

Your Comment

Comment Policy:

Thank you for joining the conversation about important policy issues. Comments are limited to 1,500 characters and are subject to approval and moderation. We reserve the right to remove comments that:

  • are injurious, defamatory, profane, off-topic or inappropriate;
  • contain personal attacks or racist, sexist, homophobic, or other slurs;
  • solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites or to sell products or services;
  • may infringe the copyright or intellectual property rights of others or other applicable laws or regulations; or
  • are otherwise inconsistent with the goals of this blog.

Posted comments do not necessarily represent the views of the CBPP and do not constitute official endorsement by CBPP. Please note that comments will be approved during the Center's business hours. If you have questions, please contact

two + = 10

 characters available