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VIDEO: Huizenga Testifies on Need for Bipartisan Fiscal Commission, Saving Social Security

Today, Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-MI) testified before the House Budget Committee on the need to get our nation’s fiscal house in order and how his bipartisan legislation, the Fiscal Commission Act of 2023, is the best path forward. During his testimony, Huizenga addressed the looming 23% cut to Social Security and the 11% cut to Medicare coming in the next decade if Congress fails to act.

Video of Congressman Huizenga discussing the Fiscal Commission Act and the need to protect Social Security for seniors and current beneficiaries is available below. Video is also available below of Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA) regarding the need to stop the looming status quo cuts to Social Security.

Congressman Huizenga: Our national debt is now $33.8 trillion. Just the interest we pay on this debt already exceeds everything we spend on children, and within 3 years, the amount we pay on interest will eclipse our defense budget. Social Security will become insolvent by 2034, forcing a 23% mandatory cut. Medicare Part A will be depleted by 2031, even sooner than Social Security, resulting in an 11% cut. This isn’t a Republican saying this. It is not a Democrat saying this. It is the trustees of these trust funds saying this.

I’m not interested in a partisan food fight. I want results that protect our seniors and current beneficiaries while preserving these key programs for future generations. If the status quo holds and Congress does nothing, simply put it will result in a cut. The best path forward, in fact the only path forward, in my opinion, is a bipartisan, bicameral solution such as the Fiscal Commission Act.

Before you, or the public, write this off as “just another commission,” know that we can learn from both the failures and the successes in our nation’s long history of commissions. For example, Simpson-Bowles suffered from an atmosphere of partisanship, much like what we see now, yet it focused the national conversation on fiscal reforms. Whereas the Greenspan Commission benefitted from clear purpose, fostering agreement that helped rescue Social Security was the end result.

Acknowledging these lessons, I introduced the Fiscal Commission Act, in September, along with my BFF, my co-chair of the Bipartisan Fiscal Forum, Representative Scott Peters, which has gained 20 evenly divided partisan cosponsors. Our commission proposal features equal representation from both chambers and both parties, is transparent and focused on clear goals, retaining Congress’ constitutional duties, and has real teeth.

Specifically, our bill forces Congress to vote on a package of proposals offered by this bipartisan, bicameral fiscal commission. It begins with the four corners of congressional leadership, each appointing four members to the commission, 16 appointees total. Three of each leader’s selections must be colleagues from our respective chambers, in addition to one individual from the private sector.

This commission must craft a package of recommendations to both improve the fiscal situation in the medium term as well as to achieve a sustainable debt-to-GDP ratio in the long term. For any recommendations related to federal programs for which a federal trust fund exists, the Commission must improve their solvency for a period of 75 years. No stone can be, or hopefully will be, left unturned.

In the first week after the 2024 election, the commission must vote to report its proposal to Congress. After that, before the lame duck ends, both the House and Senate must put the proposal to an up-or-down vote without amendment and without delay.

Let’s be clear, I don’t expect that this will be an easy vote for any of us and frankly Congress has proven that it is not able to simply pass a bill. Yet, I believe a fiscal commission may not be the magic potion as the Chairman had said and it may fail, but we cannot stop trying.

I do believe this is the most practical and immediate way Congress can break the status quo here is Washington.

Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA): That is the frustrating thing for me being a Democrat trying to save Social Security and Medicare is that many people on our side of the aisle say don’t touch it.

Social Security is in the hospital bed with a weak heartbeat. We know it’s dead in ten years. We are talking about 23% across the board cuts if we do nothing.

For those of us who want to save Social Security, we need to act now. As people have made the point, the longer we wait the more expensive and more difficult those choices will be and the more likely cuts will be.

So that’s why I think it is really imperative for us to get on this right now. People want to make it a political issue that has been successful, but now we are coming up on the precipice of the actual cuts to seniors that are going to take effect across the board. We have to act if we want to save these programs and if we don’t, we will lose them.

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