WASHINGTON — In a letter today to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, United States Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), Congressman Ed Case (HI-01), and Congressman Kurt Schrader (OR-05) called for increased fiscal responsibility in order to preserve the long-term economic stability of the United States of America. The letter was also signed by Congressman Dean Phillips (MN-03) and Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-07).
In their letter, the Members outline the unsustainable fiscal trajectory of the United States, even prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2020, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected at least $1 trillion annual budget deficits each year in perpetuity. Debt held by the public was projected to rise to 180 percent of GDP by 2050. In their most recent outlook, published in March 2021, CBO revised that number, projecting that debt held by the public would in fact exceed 200 percent by 2051.
“We write as Members of Congress deeply concerned with the fiscal state of our nation. As we continue to have a national conversation about major infrastructure spending and necessary investments to support hardworking American families, we believe it is critical that we do so responsibly and take meaningful steps to get our fiscal house in order,” wrote the Members.
“Before being elected Congress, I taught public finance at Georgia State University and ran the Georgia Senate’s nonpartisan Budget and Evaluation Office during the Great Recession, so I know first-hand that the changes we need won’t be comfortable. But this is about what we pass on to our children and grandchildren. As we continue recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that together, we take steps now to put our country and families on the path to long-term fiscal stability. I thank Congressman Case, Congressman Schrader, Congressman Phillips, and Congresswoman Murphy for joining me in that commitment,” said Congresswoman Bourdeaux.
“While the public health, economic, and social emergency of COVID-19 necessitated some of the highest levels of deficit spending and greatest increases in national debt in our history, it is also inescapable that they accelerated our already-perilous slide into fiscal irresponsibility. As we emerge from COVID-19, we cannot allow the last year-plus of suspending sound fiscal policy in the national interest to become the new status quo,” said Congressman Case.
“Congress has made vital investments to strengthen and support our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and help struggling American families get through the crisis. But, we must remember this increased level of deficit spending was employed to meet the unprecedented moment, and should not be viewed as a sustainable, long-term solution to pass important legislation. The truth is, our country was on an unsustainable fiscal path long before the pandemic began, and Congress must take a hard look at this pressing issue so we can find bipartisan solutions to address the root causes of our national debt. This fiscally responsible approach will help the economy recover and grow, without saddling our future generations with lifetimes of debt,” said Congressman Schrader.
“Budgeting is the most basic responsibility of governing— it lays out the vision, values, and priorities of a nation. This country should not accept moving forward on an ad hoc basis without a budget in place. Representative Bourdeaux and the members on this letter are showing the type of leadership we need right now in asking Congressional leaders to move forward on a budget resolution before acting on any major tax or spending bills,” said Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
All three co-leaders of the letter have extensive public finance experience. Congresswoman Bourdeaux served as Director of the Georgia Senate’s nonpartisan Budget and Evaluation Office during the Great Recession and taught public finance at Georgia State University. Congressman Case served as Majority Leader of the Hawaii House of Representatives, where he was a vocal advocate for fiscal responsibility measures. Congressman Schrader has been an advocate for fiscal responsibility during his time in Congress and served as the chief budget writer in the Oregon state legislature.
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lives with her family in Suwanee, Georgia and represents Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the 117th Congress. Carolyn is a strong advocate for affordable health care, an economic recovery that puts workers and small businesses first, and investing in her district’s world-class public education system and transportation infrastructure.
Georgia’s fast-changing 7th Congressional District includes portions of the northeast Atlanta metropolitan area, including portions of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties and cities Peachtree Corners, Berkeley Lake, Sugar Hill, Norcross, Cumming, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Snellville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Grayson, and Buford.