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CBO Boss Sounds Debt Warning on Capitol Hill

Photo Courtesy - Stephen Chernin/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf went to Capitol Hill Thursday to sound yet another warning about the country’s debt problems.

The non-partisan CBO this week predicted this year’s federal budget deficit would come in at $1.5 trillion, a new record, and in a decade debt held by the public would reach 97 percent of GDP, the highest level since 1946.

“We would be entering unfamiliar territory for all developed countries over the past several decades,” Elmendorf told the Senate Budget Committee about the ten-year forecast, noting that the experiences of other nations who had similar debt crises have been “poor.” 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said the report about the long-term fiscal outlook should serve as another reminder of the need for action.

“CBO’s report should be a red light flashing to the nation. Our fiscal situation is serious and becoming more so. We are at a critical juncture -- we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend,” said the panel’s chairman, Kent Conrad. “This is utterly unsustainable and the sooner we address it, the sooner we come to grips with it, the better.”

“The warning signs,” he emphasized, “are as clear as they can be.”

The committee’s top Republican Jeff Sessions said President Obama missed an opportunity in Tuesday’s State of the Union address to unveil real measures to rein in the nation’s soaring red ink.

“I don’t think he rose to the occasion,” Sessions said. “It was a timid speech. He squandered a historic opportunity to rally the American people behind true spending reforms.”

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