Sen. Rick Scott Introduces Federal Debt Emergency Control Act to Fight Washington’s Spending & Debt Crisis

June 9, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott led Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, Ron Johnson, John Barrasso, Joni Ernst and Tommy Tuberville in introducing the Federal Debt Emergency Control Act to rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending and provide a concrete path forward to tackle the nation’s nearly $30 trillion debt. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act is endorsed by the National Taxpayers Union, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and Club for Growth.

The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act:

  • Requires the Office of Management and Budget to declare a “Federal Debt Emergency” in any fiscal year where the federal debt exceeds 100% of that year’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • This emergency designation would trigger several provisions to help control and reduce the federal debt to levels below 100% of GDP, including:
    • Terminating any unobligated funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, and any previous stimulus bills, and sending it back to the Treasury General Fund immediately for deficit reduction.
    • Requiring all legislation that increases the federal deficit, as determined by the Congressional Budget Office, to carry its own offsets. If it does not, the legislation shall be considered out of order and will require at least two-thirds of all Senators to vote to increase federal debt before even being able to consider the bill.
    • Fast-tracking any legislation that would reduce the federal deficit by at least 5 percent over ten years.

Senator Rick Scott said, “America is in a debt crisis. Our nation is barreling toward $30 trillion in debt – an unimaginable $233,000 in debt for every family in America. It’s a crisis caused by decades of wasteful and reckless spending by Washington politicians. Now, President Biden is continuing this way of governing by pushing for trillions in wasteful spending, raising the U.S. federal debt by 60% to $39 trillion and the debt-to-GDP ratio to 117% in 2030, the highest level ever recorded in American history. Spending beyond our means has consequences. We’re already seeing rising inflation, which disproportionately hurts the poorest families, like mine growing up.

“That’s why today, I am leading my colleagues in introducing the Federal Debt Emergency Control Act to rein in Washington’s out of control spending. This includes preventing Washington politicians from mindlessly spending by requiring that two-thirds of the Senate vote to increase the debt before approving any bill. I look forward to every fiscally responsible Republican and Democrat working with me to quickly pass the Federal Debt Emergency Control Act.”

Senator Ted Cruz said, “Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration have embarked on a massive spending spree, placing the burden of the ensuing inflation crisis on American families and small businesses. As our economy fully reopens, continuing to expand our bloated government will do nothing but hurt hard-working Americans who are trying to get back on their feet. I have long fought to rein in big government spending. Sen. Scott’s commonsense legislation would rightfully hold elected officials accountable for voting to increase the deficit during a national debt emergency. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take up and pass this bill for a return to fiscal sanity.”

Senator Marsha Blackburn said, “Joe Biden and Washington Democrats are forcing Americans to pay trillions for their radical agenda. Hardworking Tennesseans shouldn’t have to keep emptying their pockets for the left’s wishlist when they are already struggling to keep up with rising inflation rates. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act serves as a critical piece of legislation to put an end to Democrat’s reckless spending spree.”

Senator Ron Johnson said, “Since I began serving in Congress in 2011, our debt has doubled from $14 trillion to $28 trillion with no serious attempt to rein in deficit spending in sight. During that time, the debt ceiling has been increased or suspended nine times with few attempts to enact fiscal controls in exchange. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act would be a major step in recognizing that we can’t keep mortgaging our children’s future and must take steps to reduce out of control spending.”

Senator John Barrasso said, “In Wyoming, we balance our budget every year and know how important it is to live within our means. There’s no reason Washington can’t do the same. With the end of the pandemic in reach and the economy recovering, we cannot afford to continue spending money we don’t have. The Congressional Budget Office already projects that the national debt will exceed 102% of our Gross Domestic Product by the end of 2021. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act will put much needed restrictions in place to keep the Biden administration’s runaway spending in check.”

Senator Joni Ernst said, “Despite being almost $30 trillion in debt, President Biden and congressional Democrats are continuing to propose trillions in additional spending of taxpayer dollars. If Iowans are expected to live within their means and balance their budgets, our federal government should too. This bill takes commonsense steps to hold Washington politicians accountable and to provide a pathway forward to tackle our nation’s debt crisis.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville said, “In the five months I’ve been in Congress, one thing has become crystal clear: the Biden Administration intends to spend trillions of taxpayers’ money with no regard for our national debt. It’s shocking, and we need to put a stop to this out-of-control spending. This is not monopoly money, but real tax dollars from the pockets of hardworking Americans. A strong nation is a fiscally responsible nation, and we need to remember today’s spending is tomorrow’s debt. I’m proud to join my colleagues in supporting this commonsense legislation to get our fiscal house in order and pump the brakes on Washington’s spending spree.”

Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy, National Taxpayers Union (NTU), said, "Congress needs to get serious about record debt and deficit levels, while also working to avoid back-breaking tax hikes on the middle class and small businesses. Senator Scott's Federal Debt Emergency Control Act would give Congress the tools it needs to meaningfully address the debt when it outgrows the size of the economy. NTU applauds Senator Scott for leading this fiscally responsible effort."

Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, said, “After the budget deficit has exceeded $3.7 trillion and the national debt stands at more than $28 trillion, it is time to rebuild the nation’s fiscal security. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act creates a commonsense plan to rein in the federal government’s excessive spending habits; makes payments toward reducing the national debt; and forces members of Congress to be on the record when they vote to increase the deficit. Passage of Senator Scott’s legislation will begin to put an end to reckless, wasteful, out-of-control government spending.” 

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, said, “Federal spending and the national debt have been completely out of control for years, yet the Biden administration wants to make this problem worse by enacting trillions of dollars in new spending. Lawmakers must get serious about curbing this problem and can do so by supporting Senator Rick Scott’s Federal Debt Emergency Act. This important legislation will implement much needed legislative reforms that will force lawmakers to seriously address federal spending and deficits. Importantly, this legislation contains safeguards to protect against tax increases, ensuring that politicians do not force working families and businesses to pick up the tab for years of Washington mismanagement.”

Brent Gardner, Americans for Prosperity Chief Government Affairs Officer, said, “Washington has gone on a spending spree, adding trillions of dollars to our national debt since last year. The Federal Debt Emergency Control Act makes important reforms to stop Congress from its habit of deficit spending on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Adam Brandon, President of FreedomWorks, said, “With a national debt surpassing 28 trillion dollars, our country’s fiscal health is in dire straits. Decades of reckless spending have created a true emergency laid at the feet of Americans now and for generations to come. More than ever, we need real conversations and workable solutions to address the national debt. Senator Scott’s Federal Debt Emergency Control Act is an important measure to force politicians who would rather look the other way to instead curb Congress’s spending addiction and preserve the financial health of our country.”

David McIntosh, President of Club for Growth, said, “The National Debt is an emergency. For too long, both parties have ignored the fiscal crisis in favor of mortgaging the economy on the backs of future generations. A spending increase is a future tax increase and this legislation correctly addresses our debt and deficit issues by terminating unobligated stimulus spending. Congress needs to responsibly attack the debt bomb threat facing America, and Senator Scott’s legislation is a good step toward reining in out-of-control federal spending.”