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house Bill H.R. 3442

Should the Treasury Have a Plan for Reducing the National Debt Before Raising the Debt Limit?

Argument in favor

By requiring the Treasury to report to Congress about the national debt and ways to reduce it before the debt limit is reached, lawmakers can take steps to prevent the national debt from continuing to accumulate.

BTSundra's Opinion
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02/10/2016
Have a plan for what you're doing before you do it.
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02/10/2016
America can't project power and prosperity from bankruptcy court... By reducing and balancing the national debt, it not only strengthens US national security, but our Independence as well.
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Gary's Opinion
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02/10/2016
NEED to put pressure on politicians to reduce spending as they have no idea how to live within a budget
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Argument opposed

There’s already plenty of communication between the Dept. of the Treasury and Congress about the debt limit without this report being made a requirement, and lawmakers don’t need to be told how to reduce the debt.

SouthernGal's Opinion
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02/10/2016
If congress would stop giving the 1% tax breaks, stop giving the largest corporations welfare, start taxing the corporations that hide their profits overseas, overturn Citizens united, then this probably would not be a problem.
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Steven's Opinion
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02/10/2016
Raising the debt limit is about not defaulting on money we've already spent. You don't max your credit card and then call up the company and say "I'll pay the bill when I have a plan to do it". Stop this political grandstanding nonsense, because it could have real and lasting negative consequences for us as a country.
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Jake's Opinion
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02/16/2016
The problem with forecasting is that it is always wrong. I also find it insanely ironic that a bill to reduce the deficit, will only add to it..... The tax code is the root cause of this problem. Let's stop trying to band-aid everything and actually fix something.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Finance
  • The house Passed February 11th, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 267 Yea / 151 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedSeptember 8th, 2015

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What is House Bill H.R. 3442?

This bill would require the Secretary of the Treasury to provide a report to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee before any date on which the Secretary believes the U.S. will reach the statutory debt limit.

Within the report, the Secretary must address the following:

  • The historic, current, and project levels of the debt;

  • The drivers and composition of future debt;

  • How the U.S. will meet debt obligations if the debt limit is raised.

The Secretary would also be required to provide both of the committees with a detailed explanation of:

  • Proposals of the President to reduce the debt in the short-, medium-, and long-term in addition to a progress report on implementing them;

  • The impact an increased debt limit will have on future government spending, debt service, and the position of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency;

  • Projections of the fiscal health and sustainability of major entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

All information provided by the Secretary during their appearances before congressional committees and any written materials must be made publicly available on the Dept. of the Treasury’s website.

Impact

The House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, the Dept. of the Treasury, and the Secretary of the Treasury.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3442

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) introduced this bill to improve transparency during the process of raising the debt limit while also requiring regular updates on debt reduction efforts and strategies:

“Currently, the administration is able to request a debt limit increase without providing a clear-eyed account of the debt, its key drivers, and its risks or consequences to the economy. The Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act calls for any such request to be accompanied by detailed reports on the state of the debt and its composition, proposals to reduce the debt in the short-, medium-, and long-term, and regular updates on debt reduction progress. The bill also requires the Treasury Department to make these documents publicly available in a central online repository. This would allow all Americans to thoroughly examine the nation’s debt for themselves and evaluate whether the administration is following through on efforts to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.”

This legislation was passed by the House Ways and Means Committee on a vote of 22-14, and currently has 35 cosponsors in the House — all of whom are Republicans.


Of Note: The U.S. national debt surpassed $19 trillion for the first time in February 2016, amounting to about $58,000 per American citizen and $158,000 per taxpayer at the time of writing. In 2015 the federal government spent over $223 billion making interest payments on the national debt, and the White House expects that expense to rise to $787 billion in 2026 under the President’s budget proposal for 2017.

The debt ceiling first came into use by the federal government in 1917 to help finance spending during World War I, and has been raised more than 100 times since its creation.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user puroticorico)

AKA

Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2015

Official Title

To provide further means of accountability of the United States debt and promote fiscal responsibility.

    Have a plan for what you're doing before you do it.
    Like (44)
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    If congress would stop giving the 1% tax breaks, stop giving the largest corporations welfare, start taxing the corporations that hide their profits overseas, overturn Citizens united, then this probably would not be a problem.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    America can't project power and prosperity from bankruptcy court... By reducing and balancing the national debt, it not only strengthens US national security, but our Independence as well.
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    NEED to put pressure on politicians to reduce spending as they have no idea how to live within a budget
    Like (18)
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    The treasurery departments responsibility is to attend to its due diligence to identify and implement regulations to stimulate our economy, period. As a nation of a current 22% in national debt owed to foreign nations due to trade and manufacturing,, the treasury department must utilize its economic strategies to stabilize our current national debt, insurance debt, federal reserves debt, foreign debt, etc. It's time that are true economist rise into the limelight to significantly alleviate some of the key aspects to make our economy THRIVE AGAIN. During the time period of the industrial revolution our technological advancement was evident that it resulted in a BOOMING ECONOMY. In this scenario we can't rely on some of the incompetent leaders in Washington or technology as much. We simply must notify our economist and advanced entrepreneurs that it's their opportunity to implement their economic actions to reduce the significant national debt. A result of the treasurery department fulfilling their duties to greatly assist in stimulating our economy would be leaving a bright economic future for generations to come.
    Like (7)
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    Raising the debt limit is about not defaulting on money we've already spent. You don't max your credit card and then call up the company and say "I'll pay the bill when I have a plan to do it". Stop this political grandstanding nonsense, because it could have real and lasting negative consequences for us as a country.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    The problem with forecasting is that it is always wrong. I also find it insanely ironic that a bill to reduce the deficit, will only add to it..... The tax code is the root cause of this problem. Let's stop trying to band-aid everything and actually fix something.
    Like (6)
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    The Treasury is part of the executive branch. The legislative branch controls the budget. Therefore, it is the legislature that should come up with plans to reduce the debt.
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    Responsible citizens must budget and not get themselves into debt. A responsible government must do the same by tending ONLY to those powers and responsibilities not assigned to states. STOP funding foreign entities until we have our own ducks in row!!
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    Absolutely have a plan and it better not affect SSA or Medicare since these programs are paid for by the persons receiving it by payroll deductions or volunteer contributions if self employed. The thieves we elected have taken a fairly sound program and corrupted into handouts to gain votes. I would support cleaning it up by changing the disability requirements only. Medicaid is welfare not an entitlement. Get rid of all discretionary spending until the national debt is paid back in full. What household is allowed to run on a deficit none that I know of!
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    The Obama administration has effectively bankrupted my generation, as well as the next president who takes office with this outrageous deficit on his hands. No, it is not good debt, it's not good debt that we borrow a million dollars a minute from China to pay for failed economic policies like Obamacare, as this horrendous healthcare law continues to raise healthcare prices and become more and more unaffordable for the millions of hardworking men and women of this country. Off of that, I also believe there is some blame to share, Republican Presidents of the past have conducted deficit spending to build up and fortify our national defense. However, nothing like we've seen in the last 7 years, where our president has not submitted a single balanced budget, and has added more debt than the preceding 43 presidents combined. The Republican controlled congress under the Clinton Administration was able to combat Clinton's potentially irresponsible spending as they balanced the federal budget and cut taxes & entitlements. The same has to be done here, before things get very bad. "There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt." -John Adams
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    Anything that gets them to even think about lowering our debt is a good thing.
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    Politicians already know what the debt ceiling is and ways to avoid it. They can't agree on HOW to balance the budget. Let's not put a gun to our own heads here.
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    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results... this trend has no end. Even the most delinquent teenagers seem to have a better grasp of personal finance than this country does. Would you continue to loan money to your teenage neighbor when they keep coming back saying 'oops, it's all gone, I have no idea how I'm gonna pay you back, can I have some more?'
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    The national debt is too large in this country with too little restraints in place on spending. Anything that will further educate the people and politicians who control the budget should be passed. More needs to be done before reign in the national budget.
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    Contrary to what many are told and believe, governments do NOT function economically as businesses do. Indeed the differences are substantial. In addition, when I see "laws" proposed regarding debt, etc and I hear Republicans (for the most part) say.."that is how businesses are run", as a Business consultant, that always gets a good chuckle out me. Only business owners that don't have adequate management skills, are on their "last" legs, or have incompetent owners would ACTUALLY run a business as the Republicans want to run our Government. It is a way to almost guarantee failure. Their entire goal is to bankrupt the government and to sell the federal assets off to the highest bidder (for the most part those that contribute to their campaign and slush funds). Nothing more or less. It's time the American public wake up, understand the USA is NOT a business and the economic factors that influence a government are far in excess of those influencing any business, whether it is a small local business or an international one. It's time to see the writing on the walls regarding those that are naive or self-serving enough to push this "Run a Government like a business". Indeed these same individuals would make incompetent business owners at best.
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    That's their job.
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    I approve of a bill that makes our country and government more aware of the debt issue and projections of our future, if we continue our ways.
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    We need to get the debt under control before we allow anymore spending. I have three kids and I want them to have a future in a prosperous not debt ridden country.
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    Even though our financial system is built on debt and the accumulation of more debt than funds, it is a good idea to start making government agencies to be responsible for the money they spend. To keep running our country in the red and borrowing foreign money to fund it is fundamentally irresponsible.
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