WASHINGTON—As the national deficit approaches $30 trillion, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, helped introduce a bill sponsored by U.S. Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C., on Friday to rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending and provide a concrete path forward to tackle the nation’s debt crisis.
“Despite being almost $30 trillion in debt, President Biden and congressional Democrats are continuing to propose trillions in additional spending of taxpayer dollars. If Iowans are expected to live within their means and balance their budgets, our federal government should too. This bill takes commonsense steps to hold Washington politicians accountable and to provide a pathway forward to tackle our nation’s debt crisis,” Ernst said in a released statement.
The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act requires the Office of Management and Budget to declare a “Federal Debt Emergency” in any fiscal year where the federal debt exceeds 100% of that year’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This emergency designation would trigger several provisions to help control and reduce the federal debt to levels below 100% of GDP, including:
- Terminating any unobligated funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, and any previous stimulus bills, and sending it back to the Treasury General Fund immediately for deficit reduction.
- Requiring all legislation that increases the federal deficit, as determined by the Congressional Budget Office, to carry its own offsets. If it does not, the legislation shall be considered out of order and will require at least two-thirds of all Senators to vote to increase federal debt before even being able to consider the bill.
- Fast-tracking any legislation that would reduce the federal deficit by at least 5 percent over ten years.
Several groups praised the bill.
“Congress needs to get serious about record debt and deficit levels, while also working to avoid back-breaking tax hikes on the middle class and small businesses. Senator Scott’s Federal Debt Emergency Control Act would give Congress the tools it needs to meaningfully address the debt when it outgrows the size of the economy. NTU applauds Senator Scott for leading this fiscally responsible effort,” said Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy, National Taxpayers Union (NTU).
“After the budget deficit has exceeded $3.7 trillion and the national debt stands at more than $28 trillion, it is time to rebuild the nation’s fiscal security. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act creates a commonsense plan to rein in the federal government’s excessive spending habits; makes payments toward reducing the national debt; and forces members of Congress to be on the record when they vote to increase the deficit. Passage of Senator Scott’s legislation will begin to put an end to reckless, wasteful, out-of-control government spending,” said Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.
“Federal spending and the national debt have been completely out of control for years, yet the Biden administration wants to make this problem worse by enacting trillions of dollars in new spending. Lawmakers must get serious about curbing this problem and can do so by supporting Senator Rick Scott’s Federal Debt Emergency Act. This important legislation will implement much needed legislative reforms that will force lawmakers to seriously address federal spending and deficits. Importantly, this legislation contains safeguards to protect against tax increases, ensuring that politicians do not force working families and businesses to pick up the tab for years of Washington mismanagement,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.
“Washington has gone on a spending spree, adding trillions of dollars to our national debt since last year. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act makes important reforms to stop Congress from its habit of deficit spending on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Brent Gardner, Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer.
“With a national debt surpassing 28 trillion dollars, our country’s fiscal health is in dire straits. Decades of reckless spending have created a true emergency laid at the feet of Americans now and for generations to come. More than ever, we need real conversations and workable solutions to address the national debt. Senator Scott’s Federal Debt Emergency Control Act is an important measure to force politicians who would rather look the other way to instead curb Congress’s spending addiction and preserve the financial health of our country,” said Adam Brandon, President of FreedomWorks.