Policymakers are considering using the lame duck session to substantially worsen the nation's budget. A commonly discussed package would add potentially by as much as $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years. According to news reports [last one is behind a paywall], politicians of both parties have talked about deficit-financing a permanent continuation of tax breaks that expired last year and a replacement of the Medicare SGR. A lame duck session is not an excuse to throw fiscal responsibility out the window. We recently released the PREP plan, which shows one way lawmakers could pay for these changes.
Failing to offset these policies would add a huge amount to the debt. Continuing the extenders would wipe away all the new revenue raised in the fiscal cliff deal, while failing to offset the SGR would break with years of precedent, as the doc fix has been paid for 98 percent of the time since 2004.