During a hearing today on securing the nation’s fiscal future, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said he hoped the committee would produce bipartisan proposals to fix America’s broken budget and spending process. The Comptroller General for the Government Accountability Office Gene L. Dodaro testified, discussing what fiscal rules other countries have utilized to manage their debt and deficits, as well as other steps Congress can take to help secure our country’s fiscal future.
“Our nation faces a fiscal storm driven largely by demographics,” Enzi said. “For decades, we were warned that as members of the Baby Boomer generation aged and retired, mandatory spending would rise sharply and drive deficits and debt to unsustainable levels. We know that the longer we wait to address this situation, the more drastic the changes will have to be.”
Enzi said one area the committee has been focused on is the creation of enforceable, long-term fiscal targets, such as long-term debt-to-GDP targets. Credible fiscal targets could guide fiscal decision-making and improve the way Congress budgets and spends. These targets could encourage Congress to focus less on near-term spending battles and more on the long-term fiscal health of our country.
“Too often in Washington, we govern by crisis, waiting until the last minute to make the thorny decisions that everyone knows need to be made,” Enzi said. “We won’t solve all of our fiscal problems through budget process reform, because reform is not a substitute for political will. I am hopeful, however, that this committee will be able to produce bipartisan proposals that would allow us to confront these issues in a more reasoned and responsible way than we do now.”