Bipartisan, bicameral legislation would rescue endangered federal trust funds and rein in national debt
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney’s TRUST Act was front and center at a Budget Committee hearing today as a viable, bipartisan solution to saving Social Security. Romney’s bipartisan and bicameral legislation creates a process to rescue the Social Security Trust Fund and other endangered federal trust funds—while reining in the national debt. Romney initially introduced the TRUST Act last Congress, and his TRUST Act amendment overwhelmingly passed by a vote of 71-29 during floor consideration of the budget in 2021. A one-pager of the bill is available here.
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget President Maya MacGuineas praised the TRUST Act as the “single best idea” to make Social Security solvent:
“The most recent trustees report tells us that Social Security is heading toward insolvency. Of course, that is not news. We have known this for more than thirty years. And yet in that time, we have basically done nothing to make the program shored up so that it’s financially solvent. We now have a situation where the combined trust funds will be insolvent by around 2035, when today’s 54 year-olds reach full retirement age…Right now, process-wise, I think the single best idea out there is the TRUST Act. Senator Romney has worked on this and it’s bipartisan and bicameral. And what’s so appealing about it is that everything is on the table. In order to get out of the special committees that would look at how to save these programs, the proposals have to be bipartisan and you would still have the same threshold in the Senate to pass any reforms. So there is no single right way to make Social Security solvent, however the wrong thing to do is to continue to do nothing.”
Senator Lindsey Graham called on Majority Leader Schumer to bring the TRUST Act to the floor for a vote:
“So Senator Schumer, in case you’re watching, I challenge you to bring Senator Sanders’ bill to the Floor. He is a very sincere man—he’s found a way, he thinks, to save Social Security. And all I ask in return is to vote on Senator Romney’s bill. You’ll have two approaches to how to solve this problem and you’re not going to do it because you’re all talk. Prove me wrong…[we need to] get on about the hard work of finding a solution that will get buy-in from both sides of the aisle. I really do believe it’s possible if there’s political will.”
Senator Romney highlighted how the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to become insolvent in 2034 and the only feasible solution is to work on a bipartisan basis by passing the TRUST Act:
“How do you get something done? How do you get something accomplished? And, you know, Senator Sanders makes a wonderful plea which many people agree with—the need for helping our seniors, providing better benefits for them, and so forth. But recognize that this bill has zero chance whatsoever of receiving a single Republican vote in either house [of Congress]. So it will not be passed. And he knows that. As a matter of fact, you all recognize that given the fact that for any legislation of scale to be passed requires Republicans and Democrats to work together. That’s the nature of our democracy. We have a 50-50 Senate. Half of the American people voted for Republicans, half voted for Democrats.
“To get something done requires bipartisanship. So, any proposal that’s brought forward, that is only supported by one party, is a messaging bill. It’s a campaign bill. It may be a fundraising bill, but one thing it’s not is about to become a law. So, if you want to have a law, you have to see if there’s a way to get people working together. Our challenge was Social Security, like Medicare and the Highway Trust Fund, exemplified by that chart, which is Social Security Trust Fund runs out of money in 2034. That’s a problem. It’s a problem for Social Security recipients and of all the people who noticed it—the Washington Post said, ‘The Medicare and Social Security disaster that Washington is doing nothing to fix.’ It’s not that the think tanks don’t have proposals, or that partisans of either side of the aisle can’t come up with answers. It’s that we have not taken action that actually could result in a solution. So, I would suggest that we find a way to actually get something done. Now, I’m pleased that my good friend Senator Graham spoke about the TRUST Act and gave me some credit for that. It was introduced by myself and Senator Manchin, a Republican and Democrat. Senator Warner is also on it…By the way, we have five Democrats who signed up on the TRUST Act because it does this: it says let’s get groups together, half Republican, half Democrat to work together to see if they can find a solution to save Social Security, and both sides have to agree.”
The TRUST Act is cosponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).