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house Bill H.R. 523

Should the Treasury Have a Plan for Reducing the National Debt Before Raising the Debt Limit?

Argument in favor

By requiring the Treasury to report to Congress about the national debt and ways to reduce it before the debt limit is reached, lawmakers can take steps to prevent the national debt from continuing to accumulate.

Dea's Opinion
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02/21/2017
Maybe Trump should pay his taxes that might help
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Zach's Opinion
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02/21/2017
Wasn't this important enough to the GOP that it shut down the government during the Obama administration?
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Cliff's Opinion
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02/21/2017
Raising the debt ceiling cannot become a pattern.
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Argument opposed

There’s already plenty of communication between the Dept. of the Treasury and Congress about the debt limit without this report being made a requirement, and lawmakers don’t need to be told how to reduce the debt.

Justin's Opinion
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02/21/2017
The Treasury has nothing to do with reducing the debt. The Treasury just spends money that Congress authorizes. If Congress wants the debt lowered, it needs to come up with a spending plan that does so. That said, we shouldn't worry about the debt - maybe if interest rates were too high or there was concern that they would become too high in the near future, we might want to think about it, but as of now that's not the case. The debt is largely just a political scare tactic with very little real-world consequence and it shouldn't prevent us from funding and supporting important government programs that help the unfortunate, which are always the first to be cut in the name of debt-reduction and austerity.
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Caren's Opinion
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02/21/2017
How about Congress work on a budget that includes cuts to their retirement and health care programs before making any cuts to Medicare and social security.
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Joseph's Opinion
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02/21/2017
The responsibility to develop a strategy for lowering the national debt falls on Congress where all appropriations are made and where the decision is made to spend more money than we take in, to borrow money. The Treasury just carries out the laws set forth in Congress and reports back. Congress can lower the debt by either cutting spending or stimulating economic growth.
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    Maybe Trump should pay his taxes that might help
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    The Treasury has nothing to do with reducing the debt. The Treasury just spends money that Congress authorizes. If Congress wants the debt lowered, it needs to come up with a spending plan that does so. That said, we shouldn't worry about the debt - maybe if interest rates were too high or there was concern that they would become too high in the near future, we might want to think about it, but as of now that's not the case. The debt is largely just a political scare tactic with very little real-world consequence and it shouldn't prevent us from funding and supporting important government programs that help the unfortunate, which are always the first to be cut in the name of debt-reduction and austerity.
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    How about Congress work on a budget that includes cuts to their retirement and health care programs before making any cuts to Medicare and social security.
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    The responsibility to develop a strategy for lowering the national debt falls on Congress where all appropriations are made and where the decision is made to spend more money than we take in, to borrow money. The Treasury just carries out the laws set forth in Congress and reports back. Congress can lower the debt by either cutting spending or stimulating economic growth.
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    Wasn't this important enough to the GOP that it shut down the government during the Obama administration?
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    The national debt is not a problem, we are not in danger of our creditors calling up payment, we are financially secure as a nation, and our currency is likely to remain a key world currency for the foreseeable future. The debt is a meaningless boogeyman that Republicans use to justify cutting social services (while mysteriously spending more on military use).
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    Raising the debt ceiling cannot become a pattern.
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    We must address our debt through the budget process and tax legislation. Jeopardizing our ability to pay our financial obligations will only hurt American tax payers. Holding the country hostage for congress' inability to act on taxation and budgetary issues is irresponsible and demonstrates poor leadership. The treasury department is not solely responsible for the country's budget and debt.
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    The Treasury does not decide how to reduce debt. That's the job of Congress.
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    The last time I checked the Constitution, it was the job of Congress to approve funds. Therefore it should be the job of Congress to develop plans that properly manage the U.S. economy. The job of Treasury is to disperse those funds that have been authorized and collect those funds that are due and their purpose should be limited to such.
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    Russia has almost completely paid off their national debt now. Does the U.S. even have a plan for when ours will be paid off?
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    This is a loaded question. Yes, we need a plan to reduce debt. But Congress has to be responsible for the money they spend and not pass the buck to another agency to recommend cuts. You spend it, you figure out a way to reduce debt. Stop blaming other people or organizations!
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    Reducing the debt would be a good thing, if they weren't trying to BS everyone in to believing that cutting Social Security would do it. Cut all military spending first
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    The debt ceiling has been raised over 100 times since 1917, and it has been vital to our economy to do so. The vast majority of our national debt consists of military and welfare spending, neither of which can be cut without political backlash. Aside from that, this bill requires projections from our president, who has proven to be more or less incompetent. I fear his indiscreet and ill-informed input may sway Republican representatives towards a disastrous budget proposal.
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    Nope - there was no concern with reducing debt from 2000-2008. Only became a "thing" when President Obama was in office.
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    Let me get this straight.... Congress wants the Treasury to warn them of when we are approaching the budget Congress put in place and come up with a solution for it before Congress raises the ceiling anyway? Does anyone know what the hell they are doing? It is quite apparent that Congress has no idea how to truly solve the debt crisis. And for those of you stating that the debt is a farce and that the debtors will not come for it, you are partially correct, but, there are consequences. List: Higher interests rates, slowed economic growth, less capital to invest in the government programs and services, decreased job market, and eventually it will lead to a fiscal crisis. Back to the budget, imagine, your credit card bill comes in approaching your limit, you request the credit card company tell you that you will exceed your budget, then you ask the credit card company to devise a plan for you not to hit that limit, in the end you raise your limit and continue spending, problem solved. This is the logic of Congress. Some of the big problems with spending are having no cost analysis done when contracting with the government. Let's take a look at some of the appalling examples of spending... Obamacare website (should have cost 5-10 million, actually cost 300 million)... Afghan natural gas station (should have cost 500k, actually cost 43 million)... F-35 jet fighter (should cost 30-50 million, actually cost between 200-300 million)... Sustain 1 soldier overseas annually (should cost 0, bring them home, actually costs 500k - 1 million per year)
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    Have I ever told you about a past president who had to read a newspaper or listen to TV/Cable news to find out important government information? Well, this is how I feel about this bill. Just where have our Congressman been on spending. Now, while it is true that Harry Reid never made much effort to have a national budget, Department heads always like the spending side while neglecting the expense of growing red ink. So hell yes, let's focus on a balanced budget with a clear effort on debt reduction. Maybe some stipulations when US expense exceeds the budget; cutting welfare in half, stopping all congressional trips, limiting State Department travel, cancel White House parties, and certainly begin the sale of government unused property.
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    Those who are voting YES on this either do not understand the reason the debt exists or how it functions in the overall economy. The most that the Treasury could provide would be an income and expense report. The functions of the Treasury are: Managing Federal finances; Collecting taxes, duties and monies paid to and due to the U.S. and paying all bills of the U.S.; Currency and coinage; Managing Government accounts and the public debt; Supervising national banks and thrift institutions; Advising on domestic and international financial, monetary, economic, trade and tax policy; Enforcing Federal finance and tax laws; Investigating and prosecuting tax evaders, counterfeiters, and forgers. (from https://www.treasury.gov/about/role-of-treasury/Pages/default.aspx) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) prepares budgets for the President (Executive Branch) and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prepares budgets for Congress (Legislative Branch). If this bill is requesting budget information from Treasury, it is very poorly written. The United States government has continuously had a fluctuating public debt since its formation in 1789, except for about a year during 1835–1836. To allow comparisons over the years, public debt is often expressed as a ratio to gross domestic product (GDP). Historically, the United States public debt as a share of GDP has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. The United States public debt as a percentage of GDP reached its highest level during Harry Truman's first presidential term, during and after World War II. Public debt as a percentage of GDP fell rapidly in the post-World War II period, and reached a low in 1974 under Richard Nixon. Debt as a share of GDP has consistently increased since then, except under Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Public debt rose during the 1980s, as Ronald Reagan cut tax rates and increased military spending. It fell during the 1990s, due to decreased military spending, increased taxes and the 1990s boom. Public debt rose sharply in the wake of the 2007–08 financial crisis and the resulting significant tax revenue declines and spending increases. In other words, the public debt fluctuates with the state of the economy. Not even the major economic brains in academia can agree on an exact way to determines what a safe level of debt would be. If you want to really understand just how complicated and difficult addressing this issue really is, Wikipedia has a great article that can demonstrate it here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_of_the_United_States. There is no easy answer to how to handle the national debt or that handling it should be such a priority at a time when our economy is experiencing such huge financial inequality. We need to address the financial inequalities first, then we can better perceive and cooperate to find a solution for the national debt.
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    “Currently, the administration is able to request a debt limit increase without providing a clear-eyed account of the debt, its key drivers, and its risks or consequences to the economy. The Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act calls for any such request to be accompanied by detailed reports on the state of the debt and its composition, proposals to reduce the debt in the short-, medium-, and long-term, and regular updates on debt reduction progress. The bill also requires the Treasury Department to make these documents publicly available in a central online repository. This would allow all Americans to thoroughly examine the nation’s debt for themselves and evaluate whether the administration is following through on efforts to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.” I agree with this statement. President Obama criticized President Bush for our nation's debt, and then proceeded to increase this debt astronomically. The previous administrations haven't tried to reduce the national debt. Our federal government is bloated, inefficient and extremely wasteful with our tax dollars. We need more transparency and accountability.
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    The Treasury has no ability to set forth or pursue a plan to reduce the national debt. That falls on congress and specifically the house of representatives. That being said i absoltulely agree that there should be a plan to reduce the debt. In fact there was a plam put in place when the Obama Administration was in office. The GOP fought it and lost.
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