U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today led his colleagues in introducing the Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts (TRUST) Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation which would create a process to rescue the endangered federal trust funds and rein in the national debt. Romney initially introduced the legislation last Congress. A one-pager of the legislation is available here.
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.
The TRUST Act is cosponsored by: Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), 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). U.S. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ed Case (D-HI), Scott Peters (D-CA), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“There is broad recognition that we need to address the looming insolvency of our federal trust funds,” Senator Romney said. “Getting our country through the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to borrow trillions of dollars, which has in turn threatened essential programs like Medicare and Social Security. Congress must respond in a way which will address this long-term problem, which is coming down the pike much sooner than was expected. Our TRUST Act is a bipartisan solution which will shore up our federal trust funds and put us on a path toward a stronger fiscal future.”
“Future generations of Americans should not be burdened by our poor financial decisions today,” Senator Manchin said. “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.”
“We need to act now to save programs like Social Security and Medicare. If we don’t, these programs will go bankrupt and America’s safety net will disappear,” said Senator Young. “With the TRUST Act, we can set in motion a bipartisan national plan to finally begin tackling the long-term drivers of our national debt.”
“As we work to fuel a full economic recovery from the pandemic for Arizona, we must also plan for sustainable federal spending in the future. Our bipartisan, commonsense bill protects the retirement benefits Arizonans have earned and grows Arizona’s economic opportunities while helping address our nation’s debt,” said Senator Sinema.
“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,” Senator Capito said.
“Social Security, Medicare, and the Highway Trust Fund fulfill some of our nation’s most pressing needs – healthcare and income for our senior citizens, repairs to our federal highways, care for our disabled citizens, and more,” said Senator King. “At the same time, the federal trusts that fund these programs are on unsteady financial ground; without action, they will become insolvent, and result in drastic benefit cuts, a heavy strain on the federal budget, or both. We can take on this challenge, and secure Social Security, Medicare, and our highways for future generations, if we act now. Every day that we delay, the problem grows larger and more difficult to solve. Now is the time for bipartisan work to secure the long-term financial health of our federal trusts and the vital programs that they fund.”
“If left unaddressed by Congress, federal trust funds will cause our nation’s deficit to rise and have detrimental effects on taxpayers, especially seniors,” Senator Portman said. “The TRUST Act takes a critical step in restoring, strengthening, and modernizing these important, yet endangered trust funds.”
“Millions of Texans rely on the safety net provided by programs like Social Security and Medicare,” Senator Cornyn said. “We cannot continue to kick the can down the road and must ensure these funds are available for future generations, and this legislation would help ensure the solvency of these critical programs.”
“If programs like Medicare and Social Security are not reformed, they will continue down a path toward insolvency, and the benefits our seniors rely on will become unavailable to them,” said Senator Cramer. “The TRUST Act would form bipartisan committees tasked with crafting solutions to consider which would be aimed at fixing these vital programs and ensuring current and future recipients receive the benefits they have earned. We cannot continue to pretend doing nothing is acceptable and this problem will magically go away on its own. Congress needs to act.”
“Our national debt and fiscal deficits threaten our position as the world’s economic leader and the U.S. Dollar as the global reserve currency,” Senator Lummis said. “We can’t stick to the status quo and expect our outlook to get better. I applaud Senator Romney for his leadership to begin righting our fiscal ship when it comes to federal trust funds. We cannot stop here and the bipartisan, bicameral TRUST Act is an important step in the right direction and gives me optimism about our fiscal future.”
“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.” – Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
“Senator Romney and these cosponsors 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.”– 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.”– 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.”– Robert L. Bixby, Executive Director of The Concord Coalition