Legislation would create a bicameral fiscal commission to find legislative solutions to stabilize and decrease national debt
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) have introduced the bipartisan Fiscal Stability Act to strengthen America’s fiscal health and stabilize the nation’s finances for future generations. The legislation would create a bicameral fiscal commission tasked with finding legislative solutions to stabilize and decrease the national debt, which now exceeds $33.6 trillion—more than double what it was just ten years ago.
The Senators were joined as cosponsors by Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). The legislation is the companion to the House’s bipartisan Fiscal Commission Act, which was introduced by Representatives Bill Huizinga (R-MI) and Scott Peters (D-CA).
“Our fiscal house is not in order and it is past time we get serious about addressing the unsustainable path our national debt is on,” said Senator Manchin. “I am proud to introduce this commonsense legislation with my friend and colleague Senator Romney that would create a bipartisan, bicameral fiscal commission to identify comprehensive solutions to bring us back to a sustainable fiscal outlook. Our national debt weakens our economic and national security and jeopardizes our leadership on the international stage. If we cannot come together to rein in this looming crisis, we will be failing the American people and harming the well-being of our future generations.”
“It is immoral and unacceptable for my generation to keep adding to the national debt, expecting our grandchildren to foot the bill for our benefits for the rest of their lives,” Senator Romney said. “As a country, we must get serious about the national debt, which is why Senator Manchin and I are coming together to propose a new fiscal commission tasked with coming up with legislative solutions to improve the Federal Government’s fiscal health and get a handle on the debt before it’s too late.”
“A bipartisan fiscal commission would examine all federal spending and make meaningful, bipartisan suggestions on how to solve our debt and deficit challenges,” Senator Young said. “Given the highly polarized political environment, this commission structure is the best way to propose and have a chance of enacting the real reforms needed to get our debt under control.”
“Establishing our bipartisan fiscal commission will help balance our budgets, keep government spending lean and responsible, and protect and strengthen the Medicare and Social Security benefits hard-working Arizonans have earned with every paycheck,” said Senator Sinema.
“Since becoming a Senator in 2021, my highest priority has been placing our budget on a sustainable path. We have a moral obligation to future generations to rein in unchecked spending and address our surging national debt, rather than willfully saddling our grandchildren with a bill they cannot afford to pay,” said Senator Lummis. “The people of Wyoming want commonsense solutions to balance our national budget, which is why I am joining Senators Romney and Manchin to establish a bipartisan fiscal commission laser-focused on improving our nation’s financial health.”
“Leaving the next generation of Americans with $34 trillion in debt would make the inflation of the last few years look like a joke,” said Senator Hickenlooper. “But if we do nothing, all our federal spending will eventually go to interest payments on our debt and cripple our country. If we do nothing, within 10 years interest payments will exceed federal spending on Medicaid and education. We have to do something now, while we can still preserve a path to prosperity for the American middle-class.”
“The biggest threat to America’s national security is our debt and spending on servicing our debt will soon outpace national defense, putting us in an extremely vulnerable position at home and with our adversaries,” said Senator Cornyn. “This bipartisan legislation would help rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending and ensure the legislative process is transparent, efficient, and fiscally responsible.”
“This bipartisan, bicameral commission will focus on the best policy options to responsibly reduce our national debt and set our country up for long-term fiscal health while protecting programs like Medicare and Social Security that millions of American rely on,” said Senator Warner. “We must act now, rather than kick the can down the road to the next generation.”
“The federal debt now amounts to well over $33 trillion and, as interest rates continue to rise, so too does the cost for the federal government to borrow,” said Senator Tillis. “Congress must halt its dangerous reliance on deficit spending and instead enact economically-sustainable fiscal policies for the American people. I’m proud to co-introduce this bipartisan legislation that would create a bicameral commission and provide a long-term strategy so we can move forward as good stewards of hardworking North Carolinians’ taxpayer dollars.”
“We must work together to address our growing national debt to better enhance our national and economic security and to leave the next generation with a strong future,” said Senator Shaheen. “With federal interest payments reaching $659 billion in fiscal year 2023, this bipartisan commission will allow us to consider the best solutions to bring down our deficits and return us to a sustainable fiscal path that allows us to invest in America’s long-term success.”
“I am very encouraged by the momentum building in both the House and the Senate to establish a bipartisan and bicameral fiscal commission to address our nation’s crushing debt,” Representative Huizenga said. “Senator Manchin and Senator Romney’s Fiscal Stability Act tracks very closely to the bipartisan Fiscal Commission Act of 2023 which Congressman Peters and I have introduced in the House. Thank you to both Senators Manchin and Romney for putting forward this important and timely proposal to tackle our nation’s unsustainable fiscal trajectory.”
“With interest payments on our debt already exceeding the cost of Medicaid and soon our national defense, it would be irresponsible to keep ignoring this problem,” said Representative Peters. “Every cent we spend paying interest on our debt is money that could have gone toward eradicating child poverty with the expanded child tax credit, making college more affordable, transitioning to a green economy, and so many more worthwhile investments. I appreciate Senators Manchin and Romney’s leadership on this issue and the productive updates they have made in their companion bill, including a requirement to consider revenue as part of the solution.”
“Thank you to Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) for introducing the Fiscal Stability Act. This legislation would create a bipartisan fiscal commission to address our rapidly growing national debt. Interest costs are surging as the fastest-growing part of the budget. At the same time, debt is on track to hit a record as a share of the economy by 2029. A bipartisan commission is an opportunity to create a meaningful plan to put our country on a responsible fiscal path. We are glad to see continuing momentum, and hopefully, lawmakers will work to enact a fiscal commission soon.” –Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
- Legislation would establish a 16-member bipartisan, bicameral commission consisting of 12 elected officials and four outside experts.
- The Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader each appoint four individuals to the Commission, of which three must be members of their respective chambers and one must be an outside expert.
- The Commission would produce a report and propose a package of legislative solutions to improve the long-term fiscal condition of the Federal Government, stabilize the ratio of public debt to GDP within a 15-year period, and improve solvency of Federal trust funds over a 75-year period.
- The Commission would be required to vote on approval of the report and legislative language by May 1, 2025.
- Any report or legislative language produced by the Commission must be approved by a majority of the 12 elected official members, with at least three being from each party.
- If the Commission approves proposed legislative language, it would receive expedited consideration in both chambers.
- While 60 votes would be required to invoke cloture prior to final passage in the Senate, only a simple majority would be needed for the motion to proceed, which would be privileged.
A one pager of the legislation is available here.
The full text of the legislation is available here.