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Case Introduces Bill to Tackle Exploding National Debt

His bipartisan measure would charge representative national commission with proposing budget balancing package for up-or-down Congressional vote

(Honolulu, HI) -  Congressman Ed Case, Democrat from Hawai’i, today introduced a bill to confront what he calls a “federal fiscal house that is seriously out of order.”

Case said H.R. 5211, his proposed Sustainable Budget Act, will create a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform tasked with “tackling our national debt, which now stands at more than $23 trillion and still growing due to annual budget deficits that soared to $1 trillion in 2019.

“It is inescapable that the underlying problem driving the ballooning national debt is our collective inability or unwillingness to prioritize fiscal responsibility and sustainability,” said Case. 

“Whether we look at budgets, taxes, spending or any other element of our fiscal debate and decisions, the result is the same: an avoidance of sound budgetary principles and practices and acceleration in deterioration of our nation’s finances.”

Case continued: “We clearly need external help that will focus us on the specific issues and collective decision-making required to stabilize our budget. Our bill will create a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, similar to other such commissions past, to serve this function.”

Case co-introduced his bill with Congressman Steve Womack, Republican from Arkansas and the Ranking Member (senior Republican) on the U.S. House Committee on the Budget.

Congressman Womack said: “The debt is on a completely unsustainable trajectory, and Congress must prioritize getting our nation’s finances in order. I support using any mechanism available to address the problem. Establishing a bipartisan commission will allow for constructive engagement and thoughtful policy solutions to one of the greatest challenges threatening America’s future.”

Ms. Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said: “Our national debt is on an unsustainable path, and the budget process is broken.  The Sustainable Budget Act, introduced by Representatives Case and Womack, would establish a bipartisan commission that could serve as a catalyst and provide the venue for policymakers to engage in the necessary tradeoffs to make progress in fixing our fiscal outlook.  We commend them for putting forward a smart framework to develop and pass bipartisan solutions.”

Case said the commission would be compromised of eighteen members split between Democrats and Republicans. It would be charged with proposing recommendations designed to achieve a balanced annual federal budget within ten years and meaningfully improve the long-term federal fiscal outlook.

The commission would also include recommendations to address the growth in entitlement spending, which is a key fiscal concern on its current track and is placing future benefits at risk. Case said we must do this to ensure that government can continue to provide core government services to those who need them most.

“When our debt balloons, to the point that just interest payments on our national debt are currently projected to exceed defense spending by 2025, it harms our overall economy and crowds out funding for other critical programs like spending for education, health care, research and development and much-needed improvements to our infrastructure,” said Case.

The commission’s final recommendations would be due to Congress by no later than one year after the commissioners are appointed. If the proposal is supported by at least twelve members of the committee, including at least four members of each party, it would receive expedited consideration in the House and Senate.

Case continued: “This process has been utilized in other comparable situations and has facilitated some of the toughest decisions that must be made. It has been attempted before in various commissions such as Simpson-Bowles Commission which came close to succeeding in restoring some fiscal discipline” said Case. “There is no reason to conclude that it would not work here, and every reason to conclude that absent such an approach we will be in far worse shape far faster than followed previous attempts.”