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U.S. faces fundamental budgetary challenges: CBO head

09-14-2011 09:10 BJT

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. federal government is facing significant and fundamental budgetary challenges, Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), said on Tuesday.

"If current policies are continued in coming years, the aging of the population and the rising cost of health care will boost federal spending, as a share of the economy, well above the amount of revenues that the federal government has collected in the past, " according to the written testimony of Elmendorf before the newly- formed bipartisan deficit reduction committee.

Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path will require significant changes in spending policies, tax policies, or both, noted Elmendorf.

"We are tasked with tackling a problem that wasn't created overnight. That didn't come about just in the last few years. Our debt and deficit problems have a lengthy and complex history," Senator Patty Murray, co-chair of the powerful "super-committee", said at the first hearing of the congressional committee.

Elmendorf held that the task of addressing the formidable fiscal challenges is complicated by the weakness of the economy, and the large numbers of unemployed workers, empty houses, under- used factories and offices.

The 12-member panel, formally named the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, was created by a bipartisan debt reduction deal inked last month.

The committee is tasked to identify at least 1.2 trillion U.S. dollars in deficit cuts by Nov. 23. Failure to do so will trigger automatic spending cuts in defense and non-defense domestic programs.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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