WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) joined CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to discuss the TRUST Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation he introduced yesterday 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.
Highlights of the interview can be found below.
“What you have is a setting where we have a series of trust funds, and the funding for these trust funds takes up about two-thirds of all federal spending. So, if you ever want to see a balanced budget, if you ever want to get out of debt, you have to deal with these trust funds. And another problem is, they all run out of money within thirteen years. So if you want to save Social Security, Medicare, the Highway Trust Fund, and the other trust funds, you want to save those programs and save those trust funds from financial ruin, we have to make adjustments now. So what Joe and I have come together is saying, let’s put together a rescue committee for each one of the trust funds—the five trust funds—and find a way to get them in balance over a 75-year period.”
“In many respects [the TRUST Act] has the same aim [as the Simpson-Bowles Plan], which is to bring fiscal sanity to Washington and to begin to make some changes now so that we don’t have to cut programs down the road. But the difference between this and Simpson-Bowles perhaps is that, one, we go automatically to a vote. This doesn’t have to go through a process that keeps it from getting to the floor. Number two, instead of taking on all of these trust funds in one single task force, instead this bipartisan, bicameral effort is going to be divided between each one of the five trust funds. So one group looking at Social Security, another committee looking at Medicare, another looking at the Highway Trust Fund, another looking at the Pension Guaranty Trust Fund. So all of these are looked at individually, and then if the group can come together in a bipartisan basis, it comes on a privileged basis to the floor for a vote. We think on that basis we’re going to be able to tackle some of these long-term problems that we’ve been facing.”