The Ways and Means Committee today advanced the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act, by a vote of 22-14. Authored by Congressman Kenny Marchant, this legislation would establish a more credible framework for debt reduction by bringing greater accountability, transparency, and discipline to the debt limit process.
Marchant issued the following statement on the Committee’s advancement of the legislation:
“The Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act is a tough but fair framework to rein-in our national debt by strengthening accountability and transparency in the debt limit process. It’s about putting our national debt under a microscope for all Americans to examine, and finding debt reduction solutions to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.
“While I'm pleased The Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act was advanced by the Committee today, it was disappointing that every Democrat in the room voted against moving the bill forward and holding Washington more accountable for what it borrows and spends. Leaving our $18 trillion national debt on auto-pilot is not sustainable. We need to deal with it head on using measures that will allow us to retire the debt responsibly before it’s too late.”
The video recording of Marchant’s opening statement during today’s markup can be found here. Below are Marchant’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
I reintroduced this bill with a simple aim: to add more accountability and less disruption to the debt limit process. And, importantly, to return the focus to finding debt reduction solutions.
Members of this Committee know that the national debt stands at $18 trillion. They also know the federal debt is at a higher percentage point now than at any point in U.S. history except a brief period around World War II. If current law remains unchanged, the CBO projects federal debt held by the public would exceed 100 percent of revenues in 25 years. This cannot be sustained.
This legislation provides an opportunity to take an early and clear-eyed assessment of the debt well before even reaching the statutory debt limit – which was reached earlier this year in March.
In advance of the statutory debt limit, the Treasury Secretary – whether Republican or Democrat – would report to this Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on three items.
First, the Secretary would report on a comprehensive account of the national debt, future debt projections, and the Administration’s plans to meet future debt obligations.
Second, the Secretary would provide proposals on how to reduce the debt in the short, medium, and long-term; and proposals, if there are any, to alter the debt-to-GDP ratio. The Secretary would also provide projections of fiscal health to major entitlement programs and the impact an increased debt would have on government spending and debt service.
Third, if an Administration requests multiple debt limit increases, the Secretary would submit a “Progress Report” as a status update on prior debt reduction proposals.
All of the reports would be made available to the public in one central location. This way the American people can also be informed, in detail, on the nation’s debt.
The national debt is a shared responsibility, and it will take a shared executive-legislative approach to stabilize and reduce the nation’s debt. We can’t afford to put the $18 trillion debt on auto-pilot any longer. Let’s deal with it head on, well in advance of crisis-related deadlines, and find responsible measures to retire the debt before it’s too late.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.