This morning, the House debated the budget proposal put forth by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a response to the budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). During the debate, CPC member Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) asked Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) when the Ryan budget would balance and create a surplus. After hemming and hawing for a few seconds, Rokita ultimately couldn’t come up with an answer:
ELLISON: When does the Ryan budget create a surplus?
ROKITA: The budget proposed and voted on by the committee — [...]
ROKITA: With responsible, gradual reforms to the drivers of our debt, like Medicare and Social Security, this budget will balance –
ELLISON: I asked the gentlemen when the Ryan budget created a surplus. He could have given me a year. He didn’t. That’s because he’s probably embarrassed about when that is. Let me tell you when the Progressive Caucus comes to surplus: 2021. That is known as a responsible budget.
The answer to the question is that the “courageous” and “innovative” Ryan budget would create a surplus for the first time in 2040, according to the Congressional Budget Office. An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, meanwhile, determined that the CPC budget would indeed turn a $30.7 billion surplus in 2021, nearly two full decades ahead of Ryan’s “bold” plan.