Reintroduction of the Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution
Representatives Andy Barr (R-KY) and Scott Peters (D-CA) reintroduced the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution in the House in conjunction with Senators Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) leading the reintroduction in the Senate. This legislation – which has received widespread, bipartisan support in the past – 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.
All legislators, not just members of the House and Senate Budget Committees, would be allowed to attend the hearing, as would members of the public. The hearing would provide an opportunity for lawmakers and the public alike to learn more about our unsustainable fiscal outlook as well as discuss ways Congress can make more fiscally responsible decisions.
This year’s budget deficit is projected to reach $1.5 trillion, and the national debt has grown nearly as big as the economy itself. By Fiscal Year (FY) 2029, debt is projected to surpass its previous record of 106 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), set just after WWII, and to reach 115 percent of GDP by FY 2033. Meanwhile, interest on that debt is projected to be the fastest growing part of the federal budget over the coming decade, surpassing defense spending by FY 2027 and reaching a new record as a percentage of the economy in FY 2030.
Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, applauded the reintroduction of the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution:
"With our nation’s debt projected to reach a record 115 percent of Gross Domestic Product by FY 2033, it is clear that Members of Congress need access to accurate, nonpartisan information on our fiscal outlook. Senators Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Ernst (R-Iowa), as well as Representatives Peters (D-Calif.) and Barr (R-Ky.), are absolutely right to bring attention to the debt and deserve credit for reintroducing the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution. The House took a good first step by hosting a briefing for lawmakers with the Congressional Budget Office Director earlier this year. The Fiscal State of the Nation would formalize this practice through an annual hearing featuring the Comptroller General, the leader of the Government Accountability Office. Congress should pass this commonsense resolution and agree to establish a regular opportunity to take stock of our fiscal health."
For additional ideas to reform the budget process, see our Better Budget Process Initiative.