Gallagher, Colleagues Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Plan to Rescue Troubled Federal Trust Funds
April 15, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), alongside Reps. Ed Case (D-HI), Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Scott Peters (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Carolyn Bordeaux (D-GA), today reintroduced the Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts (TRUST) Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation that would create a process to rescue the endangered federal trust funds and rein in the national debt.
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—an issue 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.
“It’s no secret that a number of our nation’s critical trust funds are spiraling towards insolvency. But rather than offer solutions, Congress has avoided the difficult conversations needed to get our fiscal house in order,” said Rep. Gallagher. “Problems don’t age well, and the TRUST Act would ensure that elected officials have the opportunity to work together and find solutions to this mess. It’s high time we have these tough debates in Congress, and I hope my colleagues take up this bipartisan, bicameral idea immediately. There’s no time to waste.”
“I am again co-introducing the TRUST Act this Congress because we must ensure that our nation’s trust funds, to include Social Security and Medicare, continue to provide their critical benefits for current and future beneficiaries,” said Rep. Ed Case. “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently projected that the Medicare Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2024 and the Social Security Trust Fund will run short by 2031. It is simply unacceptable to know that both programs are in critical straits on their current path yet fail to act, especially when we have time to reset these programs on a sustainable path. Our measure will act now by setting up a much-needed formal process to foster bipartisan agreement to avoid automatic cuts to critical benefits and continue these literally life-saving programs into future generations.”
“Far too many politicians preach about fiscal responsibility on the campaign trail but fail to produce meaningful reforms once they are in office,” Rep. Arrington said. “Our nation faces a $100 trillion shortfall over the next 30 years. Continuing to ignore the reality of our growing debt and that four of our major trust funds, including Medicare and Social Security, are quickly headed for insolvency is policy malpractice of the highest order. I am proud to work on this bipartisan and bicameral legislation to strengthen our social safety nets and ensure these vital programs are here for generations to come. The longer we wait, the bigger this problem will become.”
“As we continue to navigate our country out of the crises caused by COVID-19, we must also prepare to get our nation’s budget back on track. Trust funds for essential federal programs like Medicare and Social Security took a huge hit during the pandemic, with their insolvency projected within the decade. The status quo is unacceptable – retired workers will face a 24 percent cut if Congress doesn’t act. Our bipartisan bill takes a commonsense approach to protect Americans’ hard-earned benefits while placing us on a path to restore fiscal health and sustainability," said Rep. Peters.
Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), 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) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
A one-pager of the legislation is available here.
What they're saying about the TRUST Act:
“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