In response to questions from CNSNews.com, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia made clear this week that the American people should not expect either party to balance the federal budget anytime in the next decade.
That's right: Neither House Democrats nor House Republicans plan on balancing the budget in the next decade.
As of the close of business on March 7, according to the Treasury Department, the national debt stood at $14.186 trillion. Since the Census Bureau estimates there are 112,611,029 households in the United States, this means the federal government has already borrowed $125,974 in the name of every American household.
Hoyer and Cantor are effectively predicting that this $125,974-per-household debt burden will grow larger month after month, year after year, for at least the next 10 years -- no matter which party holds the U.S. House of Representatives.
At Hoyer's Tuesday press briefing, CNSNews.com's Matt Cover noted that the budget plan President Barack Obama sent to Congress last month does not propose to balance the budget any year in the next 10. Cover then asked: "Do you plan on introducing anything that balances within that 10-year timeframe, or is that possible?"
"Now, we're at $14 trillion in debt," Hoyer said. "I think the answer is -- responsibly -- we're not going to get there in ten years. But we have to be on a very considered path to get there, certainly within the next decade-and-a-half or two decades."
"I don't think you can get there in 10 years," Hoyer said. "I think it's going to take a longer time. We've dug such a deep hole."
Later on Tuesday, at Cantor's press briefing, CNSNews.com's Dan Joseph similarly noted that Obama's plan does not call for balancing the budget in the next decade. Then he asked, "Will the Republicans pass a budget that balances sometime in the next decade, and if so, what year?"
"It is very difficult to balance the budget within 10 years without cutting seniors benefits now," said Cantor. "And as I said before, our vision of entitlement reform will protect today's seniors and those nearing retirement. As I am told, you cannot balance this budget in 10 years without severely impacting the benefits that current seniors and retirees are getting now. So the answer to your question is our budget will balance in the future while we work to protect today's seniors and those nearing retirement and actually move towards reforming the programs for those 54 and younger."
Elsewhere in his press briefing, Cantor said, "We have said that those 55 and older will not see any change in their benefits."