When I ran for the Senate, the number one issue I heard about from voters was our national debt and the need to balance our budget. Since 2019, the fiscal situation has only worsened.
Washington’s spending problem existed before the pandemic and all signs point to it continuing for the foreseeable future. In order to combat the pandemic, Congress took necessary measures to provide substantial relief funds in 2020. However, there was no excuse for the federal government to run a trillion dollar deficit in 2019, and it makes even less sense to continue that trend in a post-pandemic world.
One example that shows just how out of control our deficits are is the amount that taxpayers pay in debt interest each year. Just this year, we will spend around $300 billion on debt interest payments, alone—and over time, this number is projected to grow rapidly.
Two-thirds of federal spending is done automatically, and that spending is associated with some of our major entitlement programs—like Medicare and Social Security. These programs are headed for depletion in the near future, and without bipartisan reforms, these programs will be put in jeopardy and we will never fix our debt. Any reforms to entitlement programs, however, must not affect those who are retired or nearing retirement.
I’m pushing for Congress to pass the TRUST Act—bipartisan, bicameral legislation which would create committees in Congress specifically tasked with developing solutions to rescue our major, endangered federal trust funds. The Highway Trust Fund, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, and both of Social Security’s trust funds all have projected dates of insolvency in the near future. We need these programs to be set up for success long-term. If we don’t fix these trust funds, we will likely see massive tax increases on the middle-class or drastic changes to important programs. I’m working now to build support for this proposal to ensure those actions do not happen.
Aside from the TRUST Act, I have voted against budget deals that have drastically increased spending caps, supported a ban on wasteful earmarks, and still favor a Balanced Budget Amendment that would force Congress to rein in spending and fix our debt.