Blue Dogs Back Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Restore, Strengthen Federal Trust Funds

December 5, 2019 by Dan McCue
(Photo: The Social Security Administration)

WASHINGTON – The Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats on Thursday endorsed a proposal to create congressional committees specifically tasked to restore and strengthen endangered federal trust funds.

The coalition of fiscally-responsible, centrist Democrats said in a statement that without legislation like H.R. 4907, Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts (TRUST) Act, the federal Highway Trust Fund, Medicare Hospital Insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, and Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, will be exhausted in the next thirteen years.

The legislation was introduced in the House by Reps. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, and Ben McAdams, D-Utah, co-chairs of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform, as well as Republicans Reps. Mike Gallagher, of Wisconsin, and William Timmons, of South Carolina.

The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Todd Young, R-Ind., Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

 How the TRUST Act works:

  • Treasury would have 45 days upon passage of the legislation to deliver to Congress a report of the government’s major, endangered federal trust funds;
  • Congressional leaders would appoint members to serve on “Rescue Committees”—one per trust fund—with the mandate to draft legislation that restores solvency and otherwise improves each trust fund program;
  • Rescue Committees would ensure bipartisan consensus by requiring at least two members of each party to report legislation;
  • If a Rescue Committee reports a qualifying bill for its trust fund program, it would receive expedited consideration in both chambers.

While 60 votes would be required to invoke cloture for final passage in the Senate, only a simple majority would be needed for the motion to proceed, which would be privileged.

“All Americans rely or will rely on critical government programs like Social Security and Medicare funded on a promise that if we support them today, they will be there to support us and our families tomorrow,” Rep. Case said.

“Yet it has been clear for some time now that the trust funds on which these programs rely are headed for insolvency and the promise is at serious risk. Our TRUST Act faces this reality squarely and offers a realistic way forward to assure that we will continue to deliver on the promise for all Americans,” he said.

Rep. McAdams said Congress owes it to the millions of Americans who depend on Social Security and Medicare programs “to carefully consider the options that will ensure we protect and strengthen these vital programs.”

“Republicans and Democrats must engage in a serious conversation about how we keep the promises we’ve made about aging with dignity in our country. We can’t keep these promises without working together to get our fiscal house in order,” he said.

The TRUST Act is supported by a number of organizations, including the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Americans for Prosperity, Bipartisan Policy Center, Progressive Policy Institute, R Street Institute, Brookings Institution, Concord Coalition, and FreedomWorks.

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