Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says a plan from House Republicans to cut $61 billion in spending this year would not harm economic growth.
The GOP’s proposed spending cuts, passed as part of a continuing resolution, would probably reduce “growth on the margins” and lower gross domestic product by only one- or two-tenths of a percent, Bernanke told the Senate Banking and Urban Affairs Committee.
The Fed chairman’s estimate contrasts with recent reports from Goldman Sachs and Moody’s Analytics that predicted economic harm from a $61 billion spending reduction.
The Goldman Sachs report released last week predicted that the Republican spending cuts would slow growth by as much as 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of this year. Senate Democrats pounced on the analysis to argue that Republicans were trying to “drag our economy back into a recession.”
But Bernanke said that analysis is off the mark.
“Two percent [reduction in growth] is enormous and would be based on $300 billion in cuts,” Bernanke told the panel in his semiannual report to Congress. “Sixty billion to $100 billion isn’t sufficient to create that kind of effect.”