Fiscal State of the Nation Introduced in the Senate and House

Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Angus King (I-ME), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Mike Braun (R-IN), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) introduced the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution in the Senate, in conjunction with Representatives Kathleen Rice (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY) leading the introduction in the House. This bipartisan legislation would create an annual joint hearing of the House and Senate Budget Committees, during which the U.S. Comptroller General – the head of the Government Accountability Office – would give a nonpartisan presentation on the nation’s current and projected fiscal health. 

The hearing would be open to all legislators, not just the budget committee members, as well as the public. This hearing would provide a venue to discuss fiscal responsibility and educate lawmakers and the public on our fiscal outlook. 

The budget deficit this year is projected reach $3 trillion, and debt has already outstripped the size of our economy. Under current law, the debt will be more than double the size of the economy by 2051. Coronavirus emergency spending was a necessity for many American families, but now as we continue to recover, we must start to take stock of our unsustainable long-term fiscal situation. We are glad to see bipartisan, bicameral support for drawing much-needed attention to our budget outlook. 

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, praised the Fiscal State of the Nation’s introduction: 

 “Debt is already larger than the economy, and it will continue to escalate toward a new record going forward. Lawmakers must begin paying more attention to our fiscal outlook. Senators Sinema (D-AZ), Ernst (R-IA), King (I-ME), Kelly (D-AZ), Braun (R-IN), Daines (R-MT), Rosen (D-NV) and Representatives Rice (D-NY) and Barr (R-KY) are right to draw attention to the issue with their Fiscal State of the Nation resolution. An annual hearing by the Senate and House Budget Committees featuring the Comptroller General would shine some much-needed light on our unsustainable budget situation, rather than sweeping it under the carpet. We appreciate and support this effort.” 

For additional ideas to reform the budget process, see our Better Budget Process Initiative