Rep. Ben McAdams joined a bipartisan group of representatives in sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warning about the ballooning national debt.
The letter, signed by more than 60 representatives, acknowledged the need to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but they warned the growing debt could “do irreparable damage” to the U.S. They asked that any further federal spending to respond to the virus include future budget reforms.
“According to the Congressional Budget Office, the debt held by the public is likely to exceed 100 percent of GDP in just a few months, and it will hit record levels in just a few years,” they wrote.
The letter urges the passage of the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution, which requires the General Accounting Office to issue an annual report to Congress detailing the fiscal health of the nation. They also ask to develop a plan to bring the nation’s debt levels to a manageable level to avoid members of Congress playing legislative chicken with the debt limit.
“We support a process for establishing overall budgetary goals – such as debt-to-GDP targets – that would reduce debt-limit brinksmanship as long as the budget remains on a responsible path,” they wrote.
The signatories also want to create a bipartisan committee made up of both Representatives and Senators to deal with the looming fiscal crisis that could cause the Social Security Trust Fund, Medicare and transportation funds to face insolvency because of the growing debt.
“The national debt will grow by almost $4 trillion this fiscal year and it will exceed the size of the U.S. economy by the end of the year. Emergency borrowing is necessary to confront the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. But unprecedented borrowing has a cost and economic consequences. I’m asking—and will continue to demand–where’s the plan to begin responsibly reducing the debt once this crisis is behind us,” said Rep. McAdams.
The U.S. officially entered a recession in February, and that economic downturn was amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid, and the federal government has spent trillions of dollars to mitigate the economic damage.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve projected unemployment will fall to 9.3 percent by the end of the year and drop to 6.5 percent in 2021. That’s a much rosier projection than the Congressional Budget Office, which expects unemployment rates to remain above 11 percent this year and only fall to 9.3 percent by the end of 2021.
The U.S. national debt is currently more than $25 trillion.