When I ran for the Senate, the number one issue in our state was massive overspending by the federal government, the deficits we have each year, and the debt. Our government currently spends over $4 trillion a year, but only collects $3 trillion in tax revenue. Last year, we paid almost $300 billion in interest on the federal debt, and over time this number will grow rapidly.
Two-thirds of our spending at the federal level is automatic, and that spending is associated with our major entitlement programs—like Medicare and Social Security, as well as the Highway Trust Fund. These programs are headed for depletion in the coming years. Furthermore, this two-thirds is growing faster than our economy and is driving ever growing annual deficits. Without reforms to these programs for those who aren’t near retirement, we won’t be able to preserve them for the future and we cannot possibly hope to address our debt.
In October 2019, I introduced the TRUST Act—bipartisan, bicameral legislation which would create committees in Congress specifically tasked with developing legislation to rescue endangered federal trust funds. Without reforms, the government’s trust funds—Highway, Medicare Hospital Insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, and Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance—will be exhausted in the next thirteen years. To keep our promise to current retirees when these programs reach insolvency, Congress would have to further increase our deficits, raise taxes on the middle-class, or likely both.
I also have long favored a Balanced Budget Amendment that would help reduce the federal deficit and rein in spending. I am working with like-minded senators to oppose budget processes that prevent effective debate, amendments, and spending caps. We also must depoliticize the process of defense funding in order to find potential savings—our military leaders should be trusted to make decisions about which weapons programs receive funding, not politicians.