BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Romney and Moore look to tame $34 trillion U.S. debt

Jan 10, 2024, 4:48 PM | Updated: 5:33 pm

debt...

The national debt clock is seen in midtown Manhattan, Thursday, May 25, 2023. Both President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are speaking hopefully of the likelihood of an agreement to raise the government's debt limit and avert an economically chaotic federal default. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Rep. Blake Moore, R-Utah, are weighing in on the U.S. debt and what their colleagues in the House and Senate can do about it.

The U.S. debt today is roughly $34 trillion. The U.S. government paid $76 billion in interest costs in October, up 77% from the $43 billion tab in October 2022, according to CNN.

Net interest costs soared to $659 billion in fiscal year 2023, which ended September 30. That’s up $184 billion or 39% from the previous year, according to the Treasury Department, CNN reports. 

Congress is facing two deadlines coming up fast:

  • Veterans programs, transportation, housing, agriculture, and energy departments are funded through Jan. 19, while funding for eight other appropriations bills, including defense, expires Feb. 2, according to CBS News.

Romney on U.S. debt

Romney has teamed up with West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin to craft the Fiscal Stability Act, which would establish a commission charged “with finding legislative solutions to stabilize and decrease” the $34 trillion debt.

The commission would be bipartisan, Romney said, and it would develop a plan to move the nation toward a balanced budget and reduce the debt and the deficit every year.

FILE - Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions confirmation hearing in April, 2023, in Washington. Sen. Romney's chief of staff tells KSL TV he does not plan a third party presidential bid for 2024. (Alex Brandon /Associated Press)

FILE – Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.  (Alex Brandon /Associated Press)

“We’re spending almost as much on interest on the debt as we spend on our military. How are we going to keep up with China — and Russia for that matter — if we’re spending as much on interest as we do on our military? It’s unthinkable,” Romney said.

Making major fiscal changes in an election year, he told KSL NewsRadio, can be difficult. Especially with the leading presidential candidates from both main parties resisting making changes.

“Both President Biden and former President Trump want to say ‘Oh, we don’t want to change anything. We don’t want to change any of the spending programs.’ But we’ve got to. We’ve got to change our revenues and our spending. We cannot continue to add massive more debt to our national balance sheet or the implications for the future are dire,” Romney said.

Rep. Moore exasperated with budgeting

debt

Rep. Blake Moore 

Rep. Blake Moore, who represents Utah’s 1st Congressional District, said he is frustrated with the budgeting process in Congress because members can only operate within about a quarter of the budget; the rest of the spending automatically is sent along to mandatory programs.

“It’s one of the most unorganized, confusing processes that exist,” Moore said. ” . . . right now, we only actually budget on one-fourth, maybe a little under 30% of all money spent. That’s just the appropriation side.

“The direct spending or the mandatory spending is over 70 percent of the budget, and we actually don’t even legislate on it for the most part, on a consistent basis. These are things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Big programs, welfare programs.

“Like all of that has to be in the process. You can’t just look at one-fourth of your budget and say you’re doing something, and that’s the big frustration that I’ve had back here,” Moore said.

 


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Romney and Moore look to tame $34 trillion U.S. debt