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Rounds, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan TRUST Act

Bipartisan, bicameral legislation to rescue endangered federal trust funds and rein in national debt

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and 10 other 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. Rounds and 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.            

“Our federal trusts, including Social Security and Medicare, are on an unstable fiscal trajectory,” Rounds said. “Unfortunately, necessary deficit spending during the COVID-19 pandemic has only made this situation more urgent. We must act now to shore up our budget and protect American’s hard-earned retirement benefits. The TRUST Act is a bipartisan solution for managing the 75 percent of the budget that we do not currently vote on. Our bill will create congressional committees specifically tasked to develop legislation to restore and strengthen endangered federal trust funds. It’s time we get a handle on our debt and protect our federal trusts for generations to come.”

“There is broad recognition that we need to address the looming insolvency of our federal trust funds,” 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.”

The TRUST Act is cosponsored by: Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Warner (D-Va.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.). U.S. Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.               

Support for 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


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