Senator Romney’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
Mr. President, I rise today to propose the TRUST Act of 2020. This bipartisan legislation is sponsored by 14 other Senators, both Democrats and Republicans, and supported by 30 members from each party in the House.
Its purpose is to preserve the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, both of which have been pushed closer to bankruptcy due to the pandemic. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projects that Medicare Part A will now become insolvent in only 4 years. The Social Security retirement trust fund becomes insolvent by 2031. Under the law, insolvency would trigger drastic benefit cuts or, if approved by a future Congress, draconian tax hikes. Our TRUST Act is designed to save these trust funds in addition to other vital federal trust funds.
The TRUST Act also addresses our ballooning national debt, a burden which has become even greater due to the Covid19 crisis. The CBO projects the federal budget deficit will be $3.7 trillion this year – almost quadruple last year’s deficit. Another COVID relief bill will add another trillion dollars to that figure. Our national debt will then exceed $27 trillion. That could eventually mean backbreaking interest payments, runaway inflation or national financial calamity.
Modeled loosely after the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission, the TRUST Act would create a process to rescue the Medicare, Social Security, and the federal highway trust funds. Under the bill, an individual “Rescue Committee” would be created for each of these trust funds. Each committee would be tasked with drafting bipartisan legislation that would provide for its solvency.
Members of the “Rescue Committees” would come equally from the House and the Senate and also equally from both parties, appointed by their respective party leaders. If the majority of a committee supported a solvency plan, and if at least 2 members from each party endorsed that plan, it would be brought on an expedited basis to the floor of each house.
The TRUST Act has strong bipartisan consensus including from policy advocates across the spectrum, from FreedomWorks to the Brookings Institution, as well as from Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
This is the right time to act: our trust funds are approaching insolvency even more rapidly due to the pandemic. More importantly: if we don’t act now, it will never happen before we face an overwhelming crisis. And one of the lessons the Covid-19 crisis has taught us is that it is far better to prepare — and hopefully prevent — a problem than to wait until a crisis is upon us.
The TRUST Act is the only bipartisan, bicameral solution that has been proposed to save our trust funds and to restore fiscal stability. It has widespread support among my Republican and Democratic colleagues in the Senate and House. It is heralded by thought leaders in the community. I urge this body to work in good faith to advance this proposal as part of additional pandemic relief. Mr. President, I yield the floor.