Sen. Mike Rounds and other U.S. senators have introduced the TRUST Act of 2020 to be included in projected COVID-19 Relief Legislation. Members of the U.S. House have introduced a companion bill.
It's an excellent bill, intended to protect the Social Security, Medicare and Highway Trust funds, as well as other federal trust funds.
But it needs much broader support to be enacted. Fifteen of 100 senators have signed on, and it needs more members in the House and the president's signature to be passed.
The bill is intended to rescue the trust funds before they run out of money. But fiscal responsibility seems to be the last thing on the minds of members of Congress right now. In an election year, the focus of incumbents who are running for election is to give more money away to get votes, not to put more away to meet obligations next year, the year after or the decade after.
"It is irresponsible for Congress to continue ignoring this preventable crisis. If we establish a process now in which we can actually manage these trusts, we will be able to get a better handle on our debt. This effort prevents these vital programs from becoming insolvent and protects the citizens these programs are intended to benefit," said Rounds.
He's right; it's irresponsible to ignore the problem, but that's exactly what most members of Congress are doing. If it sounds like we're very skeptical about Congress fixing its own budgetary mess, you're hearing us right.
The bill isn't even that restrictive. It would require the Treasury to deliver to Congress a report of the government's major, endangered federal trust funds. Congressional leaders would appoint members to serve on "Rescue Committees" with the mandate to draft legislation that restores solvency and otherwise improves each trust fund program.
The TRUST Act of 2020 is responsible and necessary. It needs broad support, which will be tough to get. We admire the effort.
-- Jon M. Hunter