January 19, 2024
House Budget Committee Advances “Fiscal Commission” Legislation
On Thursday, the House Budget Committee approved three pieces of legislation that pave the way for cuts to Social Security and Medicare: the Fiscal Commission Act (H.R. 5779), the Fiscal State of the Nation Act (H.R. 6952), and the Debt-to-GDP Transparency and Stabilization Act (H.R. 6957).
The committee approved the Fiscal Commission Act by a margin of 22-12, with every Republican member present and three Democratic members – Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Scott Peters (D-CA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) – voting to send it to the full House for consideration. If passed, the bill will create a 16-member fiscal commission to search for ways to reduce the national deficit and “balance the budget.”
In his opening statement, House Budget Committee Ranking Member Brendan Boyle (D-PA) emphasized the danger that a fiscal commission poses to Social Security and Medicare: “There are absolutely those who are getting ready to use a commission as a backdoor way to force through unpopular cuts that I completely oppose and will completely oppose.” He also urged members to take action to increase revenues instead of pursuing cuts.
Rep. Boyle and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) offered amendments that would have taken Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts off the table as a potential fiscal commission recommendation option, while Reps. Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) submitted amendments that stressed increasing revenue and closing tax loopholes as potential recommendations. Committee members blocked all four amendments.
“This fiscal commission legislation is based on the false premise that Social Security is adding to the national deficit,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “If its proponents were serious they could have ensured that measures to increase revenue – not just cuts – would be considered. This legislation is bad for Americans of all ages and the Alliance is going to make that clear to every member of Congress.”