GOP senators demand studies to find out what to do about debt they helped rack up


All five of the Republicans who are demanding a new debt commission voted recently to try to make Donald Trump's tax cuts permanent.

Five Republican senators demanded on Thursday that Congress create a special commission to study how to address the growing national debt. They made no mention of their own roles in racking up trillions of it.

The bill, authored by Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, would create a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The 18-person bipartisan panel would be tasked with proposing ways to balance the federal budget in ten years and "changes to address the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures of the Federal Government."

"We are on an unsustainable trajectory. We've become numb to the word 'trillion,'" Lummis said in a press release. "At the rate we are going, the United States could soon spend more money on interest on the national debt than it does on defense." The national debt currently stands at about $28 trillion — nearly a third of which was added over Donald Trump's term.

Her proposal is co-sponsored by Sens. Kevin Cramer (ND), Joni Ernst (IA), Ron Johnson (WI), and Mike Rounds (SD).

While Lummis did not join the Senate until January, those four each supported tax cuts that significantly increased the debt over the past four years.

They voted for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Trump's plan that massively reduced tax rates for big corporations and the very wealthy while reducing tax revenues by an estimated $1.9 trillion between 2018 and 2027.

They each also backed the bipartisan $2.2 trillion CARES Act, and Cramer and Ernst backed another bipartisan $900 billion relief package in December.

"Out of control spending and skyrocketing debt has been a bipartisan problem that requires a bipartisan solution," Johnson tweeted on Friday. "With more Biden blowout spending in the works someone has to study and propose serious solutions. That would be the goal of this commission."

But as recently as February, Johnson and every other Senate Republican voted for an unsuccessful amendment aimed at making the temporary provisions of the 2017 tax law — mostly relating to individual tax rates — permanent. Such a move would have meant even less revenue and more debt.

Trump ran in 2016 on a promise to balance the budget and "fairly quickly" pay off the entire national debt. Instead, he and his GOP Senate majority added trillions to it, even before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

In recent months, some Senate Republicans have admitted that their party deserves at least some of the blame for the huge budget deficit and historically large national debt. But none have said what — if any — revenue cuts or spending proposals they regret backing.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.