WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) today introduced the Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts (TRUST) Act, which would create congressional committees specifically tasked to develop legislation to restore and strengthen endangered federal trust funds. Without legislative action, 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. U.S. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ed Case (D-HI), William Timmons (R-SC), and Ben McAdams (D-UT) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“It’s irresponsible for Congress to keep ignoring a preventable crisis,” Senator Romney said. “We must put in place a responsible process now to prevent dramatic cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare or be forced to enact massive tax hikes down the road, both of which would be devastating to middle class Americans. We have a duty to work to secure these programs that provide a safety net for millions of Americans.”
“I have always said that our national budget should reflect our values and priorities, but be fiscally responsible,” Senator Manchin said. “Unfortunately our fiscal irresponsibility has left critical programs like Social Security and Medicare heading towards insolvency. Congress cannot let these programs fail. That’s why I’m proud to join my colleagues on this bipartisan bill to proactively help to secure sustainable funding for programs like these before it’s too late.”
“The TRUST Act will enable us to have a serious, bipartisan conversation about the long-term stability of critical programs like Medicare and Social Security. We can no longer kick the can down the road, and we owe it to future generations to have this discussion and identify solutions before it’s too late,” Senator Young said.
“This important legislation creates a bipartisan path forward that gives us the tools to we need to put our budget on the path to fiscal responsibility and upgrade our decaying infrastructure, protect pensions and Social Security benefits for retirees, and ensure that Medicare remains strong for seniors for generations to come,” Senator Jones said.
“It’s no secret that a number of our nation’s critical trust funds are spiraling towards insolvency. But rather than offer solutions, Congress has avoided the difficult conversations needed to get our fiscal house in order,” Representative Gallagher said. “Problems don’t age well, and the TRUST Act would ensure that elected officials have the opportunity to work together and find solutions to this mess. It’s high time we have these tough debates in Congress, and I hope my colleagues take up this bipartisan, bicameral idea immediately. There’s no time to waste.”
“Social Security, Medicare and related programs are among our most successful and critical promises to each other. They have made the difference between stability and poverty, even life and death itself, for generations of Americans,” Representative Case said. “But as the program administrators, independent experts and Congress’ own Government Accountability Office have repeatedly warned for decades, these programs are closing in on insolvency on their current path. Yet we have kicked this can down the road for just as long, hoping that it would solve itself or someone else would make the needed decisions. But we can no longer defer facing up to the question of not whether but how best to maintain our safety net and keep our promise to future generations. The TRUST Act charts a road that will get us there before our decisions become much much harder.”
“Our nation’s biggest fiscal issues are not going to solve themselves,” Representative Timmons said. “Vital programs such as Medicare and Social Security are at risk unless Congress takes action sooner rather than later. The TRUST Act will facilitate a bipartisan conversation tasked with developing solutions to shore up these programs for the next 75 years. I am proud to join Senators Romney, Manchin, and Young, along with several of my House colleagues in introducing this crucial piece of legislation and commend them for their leadership on this issue.”
“Millions of Americans depend on the benefits they’ve earned through Social Security and Medicare programs over a lifetime of hard work,” Representative McAdams said. “We owe it to them and to future generations to carefully consider the options that will ensure we protect and strengthen these vital programs. Republicans and Democrats must engage in a serious conversation about how we keep the promises we’ve made about aging with dignity in our country. We can’t keep these promises without working together to get our fiscal house in order.”
“Some of the federal government’s most important trust fund programs are headed toward insolvency,” said Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “The TRUST Act offers renewed hope that we can address these imbalances before it is too late. Senators Romney and Manchin deserve great praise for taking on a challenge that far too many ignore, by proposing to establish a process to achieve bipartisan solutions. The commissions established under the TRUST Act would be charged with securing programs like Social Security, Medicare, and the highway fund so that they are stronger, more effective, and continue to be there for current and future generations. The bill wouldn’t force policymakers to agree, but it would force them to try to work together. That goal should have unanimous support.”
How the TRUST Act works:
- Treasury would have 45 days upon passage of the legislation to deliver to Congress a report of the government’s major, endangered federal trust funds.
- Congressional leaders would appoint members to serve on “Rescue Committees”—one per trust fund—with the mandate to draft legislation that restores solvency and otherwise improves each trust fund program.
- Rescue Committees would ensure bipartisan consensus by requiring at least two members of each party to report legislation.
- If a Rescue Committee reports a qualifying bill for its trust fund program, it would receive expedited consideration in both chambers. While 60 votes would be required to invoke cloture for final passage in the Senate, only a simple majority would be needed for the motion to proceed, which would be privileged.