Money, Money, Money

August 14, 2021

This week, the Senate finished consideration of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. We then moved immediately into consideration of a staggering $3.5 TRILLION “human infrastructure” package.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, while far from perfect, includes money for necessary repairs to our nation’s roads, bridges, and waterways. While I support the overall goals of this legislation, the bill was not fully paid for – nearly a quarter trillion dollars would need to be paid for with debt spending. As we stare down nearly $30 trillion in debt, I couldn’t in good conscience add to that.

No sooner than we signed our children and grandchildren up for another quarter trillion in national debt, Senator Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Budget Committee, introduced a $3.5 trillion spending bill full of progressive priorities and new government programs. Here’s just a sampling of the reckless spending included in this bill:

  • $107 billion to the Department of Justice to give green cards to illegal immigrants.
  • $198 billion to Green New Deal priorities (including federally funded Electric Vehicle charging stations, wind and solar farms and climate change studies).
  • $726 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services to create programs for universal 2-year community college and pre-kindergarten – regardless of need.

Congress has gotten too used to using the word trillion when it comes to talking about spending YOUR tax dollars. That’s a problem. I’m not sure we even fully grasp the magnitude of that number.

Bernie Sanders wants us to add $3,500,000,000,000 to our already staggering national debt. For some context: If I had $3.5 trillion to hand out, I could give $456 to every human on the planet.

In Wyoming, the average home costs $273,992. That means if I had $3.5 trillion, I could buy 12,774,095 houses in Wyoming. Spoiler alert: there aren’t that many houses in Wyoming. Actually, at that price I could buy every single home in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona and still have money left over.

I won’t stop ringing this bell. We used to think $9 trillion in debt was unacceptable, yet look where we are now. If we don’t make some tough decisions now, we risk losing our status as the global financial leader. I don’t want that future for my grandchildren.

I’ve introduced two pieces of legislation aimed at addressing our national debt. The Pay Down the Debt Act cosponsored by Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) would allow state leadership to return federal grant money to the Treasury with instructions to use it to pay down the national debt. The Sustainable Budget Act would create a bipartisan commission similar to the Simpson-Bowles Commission tasked with coming up with ways to sustainably reduce our national debt.

Unfortunately, neither of these pieces of legislation are a silver bullet. Congress needs to curb our spending today in order to preserve a prosperous future for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.