A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney introduced legislation Tuesday that would create new congressional committees focused on the fiscal health of federal trust funds, including Highway, Medicare Hospital Insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance and Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance.
The group – which includes Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), as well as Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Ed Case (D-HI), William Timmons (R-SC) and Ben McAdams (D-UT) – warned that unless Congress acts, funding for these crucial government trust funds will run out within 13 years.
Here’s how the legislation, called the Time to Rescue United States’ Trusts (TRUST) Act, would work, according to a statement from Romney’s office:
- Treasury would have 30 days upon passage of the legislation to deliver to Congress a report of the government’s major, endangered federal trust funds.
- Congressional leaders would appoint members to serve on “Rescue Committees”—one per trust fund—with the mandate to draft legislation that restores solvency and otherwise improves each trust fund program.
- Rescue Committees would ensure bipartisan consensus by requiring at least two members of each party to report legislation.
- If a Rescue Committee reports a qualifying bill for its trust fund program, it would receive expedited consideration in both chambers. While 60 votes would be required to invoke cloture for final passage in the Senate, only a simple majority would be needed for the motion to proceed, which would be privileged.
Romney told Roll Call that while they may not be able to fix all of the existing problems, “we have a better shot of taking on the solvency of these trust funds by looking at them one by one, rather than by trying to create one mega piece of legislation that’s going to be troublesome in some way for almost everybody.”