April 15, 2021

Manchin, Capito Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill To Rein In National Debt

Bipartisan, bicameral legislation to rescue endangered federal trust funds and rein in national debt

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) led their colleagues in reintroducing the Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts (TRUST) Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill which would create a process to rescue the endangered federal trust funds and rein in the national debt.

“Future generations of Americans should not be burdened by our poor financial decisions today. Generations of irresponsibly cutting taxes combined with spending beyond our means has left the important programs on which we all depend – Medicare, Social Security, highways, and pensions – on the brink of insolvency. We must work to put the federal budget back on track to reflect our priorities while being fiscally responsible. It is past time we got our fiscal house in order, and I am proud to join my bipartisan colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to put our budget back on track,” said Senator Manchin.

“Without responsible action, many of our nation’s trust funds will eventually be depleted. I’m proud to join my colleagues once again to reintroduce the TRUST Act, which provides a path toward commonsense, bipartisan solutions that strengthens these programs and puts them on a solid foundation for years to come. Preserving these trust funds is critical to America’s future,” said Senator Capito.

Some of the nation’s most important federal programs are financed through dedicated revenue sources and managed through trust funds. A number of the largest trust funds are heading towards insolvency—made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that four of the major trust funds will exhaust their reserves within the next 11 years. The bipartisan, bicameral TRUST Act would provide a vehicle to address the key structural issues behind the debt and allow Congress to put our major federal programs on a stronger footing.

“More than a decade after the Fiscal Commission we co-chaired released common-sense, comprehensive recommendations to fix the debt and to secure our major entitlement programs, those programs still remain in serious financial jeopardy. The Social Security, Medicare, and Highway Trust Funds are all predicted to be insolvent in the next 11 years, triggering deep, across-the-board cuts in benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic has sped the timeline to insolvency and makes solutions even more urgent. While most people in Washington would prefer to burrow – or leave! – their heads in the sand, the TRUST Act would create a truly bipartisan process to save these important programs. We know from personal experience that when Democrats, Republicans, and Independents work together in good faith, they can identify real and lasting solutions: the Fiscal Commission recommendations were supported by 11 of 18 commissioners. We earnestly thank Senators Romney and Manchin, Representatives Gallagher and Case, and other co-sponsors for taking the lead on this important and vital effort. Time is running out to enact critical and thoughtful reforms to appropriately fund our infrastructure and return solvency to Social Security and Medicare,” said Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

“Senator Manchin and the other lead lawmakers deserve immense credit for developing a plan to fix the federal government’s most important trust fund programs, which are headed toward insolvency due to years of neglect. We just can’t wait any longer to fix a problem that leaves all who depend on these programs dangerously vulnerable. The TRUST Act is a sensible, bipartisan and balanced approach that would bring together lawmakers to develop fixes, without pre-baking any of the outcomes. We have known for decades that we must shore up the finances of these critical systems, and the current crisis is a reminder of how being prepared is a must in responsible governing. The TRUST Act would provide much-needed fiscal leadership,” said Maya MacGuineas, President of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“The Senate expressed bipartisan support for the TRUST Act in its recent budget resolution. It’s good to see momentum behind this and other proposals that would help ensure we don’t lose sight of the serious fiscal challenges that lay ahead,” said Michele Stockwell, Executive Director of BPC Action.

“This proposal could prompt bipartisan action on key trust fund depletion dates that threaten indiscriminate across-the-board cuts to vital programs within the next 15 years. It is, in effect, a responsible call to repeal and replace the irresponsible ‘do nothing plan.’ Democrats and Republicans may have very different ideas about how to address the shortfalls in these trust funds, but neither party should want to be responsible for the damaging and disruptive consequences of inaction. Time is running out to enact reforms. The Trust Act is a credible way to get the process started and The Concord Coalition applauds its bipartisan, bicameral leaders,” said Robert L. Bixby, Executive Director of The Concord Coalition.

Senators Manchin and Capito were joined by U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Todd Young (R-IN), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), 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). In the House of Representatives, cosponsors include U.S. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ed Case (D-HI), Scott Peters (D-CA), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA).

One-pager on the bill can be found here.