Rep. Kelly Calls for Passage of Debt Accountability Bill to Restore Fiscal Responsibility

Feb 10, 2016 Issues: Spending Cuts and Debt

Champions bill day after president’s final budget proposal


Kelly: “Responsibility is not a political issue. It is a moral issue.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of the Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3442), of which he is a co-sponsor. The legislation establishes a new debt limit framework that enhances accountability, reduces disruptive risk, and ensures integrated debt reduction solutions. It requires the Secretary of the Treasury to appear before Congress prior to each potential debt limit increase and provide testimony and detailed reports on: the national debt and its key drivers; explicit short, medium, and long-term debt reduction proposals; and progress on debt reduction. The House is expected to consider the bill tomorrow.

Highlights of Rep. Kelly’s remarks:

“Responsibility is not a political issue. It is a moral issue. Irresponsibility is the problem that we have, and I wish we could go away from making political talking points and into making solid policy positions.”

“Once you have authority and once you have responsibility, you’ve got to be accountable. Not just to that person in the mirror, but in my case, to 705,687 people that I represent in Western Pennsylvania. They’re not all Republicans; they’re not all Democrats; they’re not all libertarians; they’re not all independents. But they are all hardworking American taxpayers.”

“I don’t care who’s in the White House. I care about sound, fundamental fiscal policy that protects this country going forward. Not only those that are with us right now but those who came before us and those who are going to come after us. We are putting ourselves in a position that is totally going to be unrecoverable.”

“Debt will eliminate you. I don’t care if it’s a person. I don’t care if it’s a business. I don’t care if it’s a state or a country. We are quickly approaching the point of no return, and to sit here and try to make it a political battle instead of survival for the United States of America is totally irresponsible and, more importantly, it is immoral.”

“This is not a political battle. This is a fight for the future of our country. This is a fight for sustainability in the greatest country the world has ever known, and I do not think that any of us should ever turn our back on our responsibility because it just wasn’t politically right for them.”

NOTE: If enacted, H.R. 3442 will require the Treasury Secretary to appear before the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee not more than 60 days and not less than 21 days prior to any date on which the Treasury Secretary anticipates that the nation will reach the debt limit (not the expiration of extraordinary measures). Before the Committees, the Treasury Secretary shall present the following:

1.    Debt Report to Congress on: (i) the state of the national debt; (ii) the historical levels of the debt, current amount and composition of the debt, and future debt projections; and (iii) the Administration’s plans to meet debt obligations in the event that Congress agrees to raise the debt limit.

2.    Statement of Intent on: (i) how the Administration proposes to reduce the debt in the short-term (the current and following fiscal years), medium-term (three to five years) and long-term (ten years and beyond), and proposals to adjust the debt-to-GDP ratio; (ii) the impact that an increased debt limit would have on future government spending, debt service, and position of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency; and (iii) projections of fiscal health and sustainability to major direct spending entitlement programs (including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).

3.    Progress Report on the implementation of the Statement of Intent proposals by the Administration to reduce U.S. debt levels. A Progress Report is not required upon the Administration’s initial debt limit increase request.

The Department of Treasury shall also place on its website the Debt Report, Statement of Intent, and Progress Report to serve as a repository of information made available to the public in understanding U.S. government debt.