Alexander: Congress Must Address the “Real Driver” of Nearly $23 Trillion Federal Debt — Entitlement Spending

Posted on November 19, 2019

As spending on mandatory entitlements and interest grows, there will be less money for national defense, national laboratories, national parks, and the National Institutes of Health. Unless Congress acts within 13 years, Social Security, Medicare and our Highway Trust Funds will go broke.” — Senator Lamar Alexander 

 

The above chart illustrates all federal spending over the last 10 years and the projected spending for the next 10 years. Discretionary spending (blue line) is under control. Mandatory spending (red line) is the real driver of the out-of-control federal debt.

 

WASHINGTON, November 19, 2019: U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today cosponsored legislation introduced by Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah.) that would establish “rescue committees” tasked with creating legislation to help put the United States on the road to fiscal responsibility by bringing automatic “mandatory” spending under control. 

“The real driver of our out-of-control federal debt is mandatory or entitlement spending—which is Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt. According to the Congressional Budget Office, over the next ten years, mandatory and interest spending, will increase from 69 percent of total federal spending to 75 percent,” Alexander said. “As spending on mandatory entitlements and interest grows, there will be less money for national defense, national laboratories, national parks, and the National Institutes of Health. Unless Congress acts within 13 years, Social Security, Medicare and our Highway Trust Funds will go broke. 

“This legislation is a step in the right direction towards making the tough choices for our nation’s largest entitlement programs. If we don’t make tough decisions now, we’ll have let America slip from the hands of the ‘greatest generation’ to the ‘debt-paying generation’ with nothing to show for it but the bill.”

The bill – the Time to Rescue United States Trusts (TRUST) Act – creates four “rescue committees” to address the solvency problems in four major trust funds: (1) Social Security—Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund; (2) Social Security—Disability Insurance Trust Fund; (3) Medicare Trust Fund; and  (4) Highway Trust Fund. Each committee will be charged with providing a 75-year solvency plan for each trust fund and developing reforms to simplify and improve each trust fund. If the committees reach bipartisan consensus, those proposal would have an expedited path for consideration in both chambers. 

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