No Major Presidential Candidates Have A Plan To Tackle The Fiscal ‘Trainwreck’ Coming In 2025

Candidates vying for the White House in 2024 don’t appear to have a plan to tackle several pending fiscal crises that would need to be addressed shortly after taking office in early 2025.

The executive will likely be faced with issues related to expiring tax and debt law, as well as appropriations once they take their second, or first, term in 2024, which one former Trump administration official has dubbed a fiscal “trainwreck.” While the candidates have occasionally addressed each of these topics on the campaign trail, President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley have yet to lay out plans to combat these specific issues if elected president in November.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign, which was suspended Sunday, also failed to provide a plan for the pending crises to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Several provisions of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) are set to expire in 2025, the debt ceiling is likely to run out on Jan. 1 and a federal spending fight could ensue early next year if precedent holds, according to Mike McKenna, former deputy assistant to the president.

“This stuff is actually like material to the purpose of governance, and nobody has given it any thought? No candidate appears to have given it any thought? No campaign appears to have given it any thought? It suggests that the candidates and the campaigns are not yet serious about governing,” McKenna told the DCNF. “The modern campaign emphasizes the trivial over the material – this is a perfect example.”

Provisions related to income tax rates, standard deductions and the child tax credit in the TCJA, Trump’s signature tax law, will lapse after 2025 without congressional action.

The Fiscal Responsibility Act, negotiated upon by Biden and former Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, was signed into law in early June to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt just days later. The legislation allowed the government to accumulate unlimited debt through the beginning of 2025.

The current Congress has yet to finish the appropriations process for fiscal year 2024, which began roughly four months ago. The House and Senate passed a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government at current levels through early March, marking the third time this Congress has pushed the appropriations process back.

“It seems unlikely that this Congress is going to be able to fund the government for 2024 and then immediately pivot and go through the same exercise for 2025 in a timely manner, especially given the fact that Congress typically puts their pencils down early in an election year,” McKenna noted.

Moreover, whomever takes office in January 2025 will have to almost immediately face the three looming fiscal crises, none of which the candidates appear to have a plan of attack for.

The campaigns for Biden, Trump and Haley failed to lay out a plan to combat these specific issues upon the DCNF’s requests for comment, with the former ambassador being the only candidate to respond.

Haley’s campaign pointed the DCNF toward her previously announced economic policy agenda for “cut[ting] middle class taxes,” “reduc[ing] inflation and debt by cutting spending” and “reduc[ing] federal government control of our lives.”

The former ambassador pledged to cut income tax rates, eliminate the federal gas and diesel tax and make tax relief for small businesses permanent. Haley also proposed limiting spending to a fixed percentage of GDP, vetoing budgets that don’t return to pre-COVID spending levels and mandating zero-based budgeting.

However, the campaign did not provide a plan to specifically target the expiring provisions from the TCJA, the debt ceiling that will run out in early 2025 and how she would engage in the appropriations fight with Congress that could come early on in her first term.

The candidates have touched on the expiring tax provisions, the debt limit and federal spending throughout their campaigns, but haven’t put forth comprehensive plans for how they’d fix the issues once in office in early 2025.

Trump has said he would extend the individual tax rates expiring in 2025, according to CNN. While Haley supports making the TCJA’s expiring tax cuts for small businesses permanent, she hasn’t expressed support for extending all of the individual tax provisions, per the outlet.

Biden supports extending Trump’s tax cuts for those making under $400,000 annually for a year past the provisions’ expiration date in 2025, but hasn’t laid out a tax plan beyond his most recent budget proposal, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Several of the candidates weighed in on the debt ceiling negotiations in late May after Biden and McCarthy came to an agreement to increase the limit without a specific dollar amount.

Haley criticized the deal for not cutting spending, and also took aim at DeSantis and Trump for supporting a debt ceiling increase in 2018.

Trump weighed in on the deal during an appearance with Des Moines 1040 WHO’s Simon Conway, telling the host that “we’ll get it fixed and will get it fixed properly in two years.”

The candidates have proposed to slash federal spending and commented on the contentious appropriations fight that has dominated Congress since September.

Ahead of the initial Sept. 30 government shutdown date, Trump encouraged House Republicans to use the “power of the purse” to score conservative provisions in the appropriations legislation.

Haley criticized members for not being able to “balance a budget,” and argued they shouldn’t get paid if they couldn’t pass the spending bills.

Biden opposed allowing the government to shut down, and eventually signed the stopgap measure to temporarily fund the government. The president subsequently approved of another continuing resolution in mid-November, and a third was signed Friday.

“However bad it feels that they don’t have a plan, the fact that they’re unaware of it is worse. And like I said, either both of these guys, President Trump or President Biden, if they’re the next president, they’re gonna have their own set of challenges in addition to this,” said McKenna, noting that he believes it will likely be these two candidates in the general election.

Both Trump and Biden continue to lead their respective primaries by large margins, with the former president securing a dominant win in Iowa on Monday with 51% support. DeSantis came in a distant second with 21.2% support, followed by Haley at 19.1% and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy at 7.7%.

New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary is on Tuesday, and Haley is currently polling roughly 14 points behind the former president in the RealClearPolitics average.

Mary Lou Masters on January 21, 2024

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