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Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution Passes House with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support

Rice and Barr’s resolution promotes fiscal responsibility by requiring annual, nonpartisan address to Congress on the financial condition of the federal government

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Washington, November 3, 2021 | Stuart Malec (202-225-5516) | comments

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res.44, the bipartisan Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution, authored by Representatives Kathleen Rice (NY-04) and Andy Barr (KY-06), which requires the U.S. Comptroller General to present the Financial Report of the United States annually before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Budget Committees, open to all members of Congress. It passed the House by a voice vote.

“The American people are sick of Congress playing the blame game over our national debt and budget deficits. They want both parties to take responsibility and do more to secure the long-term fiscal health of our economy,” said Rep. Rice. “That’s why I introduced the Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution, which will ensure Members of Congress have access to timely, accurate, and nonpartisan economic data that they can easily understand and use to make informed legislative decisions about our economy. I thank my friend Representative Barr for co-leading this resolution, the 116 bipartisan cosponsors who joined us on the bill, and all our colleagues who voted for it on the Floor today.”

“Congress must confront the mounting debt crisis plaguing our country,” said Rep. Barr. “The pandemic only exacerbated excessive borrowing and spending. This common-sense bill will provide the knowledge we need to make smart and informed decisions regarding the nation’s fiscal future. It’s our responsibility to understand the full scope of our national debt and find ways to stop increasing unnecessary federal spending and save America from bankruptcy.”

Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, also praised the passage of H.Con.Res.44. The Select Committee endorsed the idea in its Final Report for the 116th Congress.

“For a number of years, I avoided stepping on a scale because I was about 90 pounds heavier than I am now. Eventually, I figured out that you can’t get a handle on things by ignoring them. Occasionally, you’ve got to step on that scale. That’s the ethic this bill embraces,” said Rep. Kilmer. “It simply says that, if we’re going to get a handle on our long-term fiscal challenges and have an economy that works better for everyone, we’ve got to occasionally hear a clear statement of the nation’s financial realities from a non-partisan, unbiased source. As the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress looked at proposals to improve the budget and appropriations process, we recommended this as an important reform. We congratulate Congresswoman Rice and Congressman Barr for their progress.”

The Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution has won the endorsement of several organizations, including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFRB), National Taxpayers Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Concord Coalition, and the Blue Dog Coalition.

“AICPA has strongly supported efforts by our elected officials to increase transparency of our nation’s fiscal health and we thank Representative Rice for her tireless work on this important issue,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA. “With today’s vote, we are one step closer to ensuring Congress receives regular and detailed reports to help them understand the long-term economic impact of current and future polices. Requiring the Comptroller General to make an annual presentation before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Budget Committees will help to focus key policymakers on some of the most important aspects of the consolidated financial statements, including financial and sustainability measures.”

“Policymakers can no longer afford to ignore the national debt, which is headed to record levels within the next decade,” said Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “We strongly support legislation to establish a Fiscal State of the Nation as a vital first-step to draw attention to our nation’s unsustainable fiscal outlook.”

“At a time when all citizens, regardless of party affiliation, have so much to gain from sound fiscal leadership, we are delighted that the House took up and passed the Fiscal State of the Nation resolution with Bipartisan Support," said David Eisner, CEO, Convergence Center for Policy Resolution. 

To ensure accurate and timely information, the Fiscal State of the Nation Resolution requires the Comptroller General’s presentation to take place within forty-five business days of issuance of the Financial Report of the United States, a report that outlines the financial position and condition of the federal government. A companion resolution was introduced in the Senate by Senators Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joni Ernst (R-IA). With its passage today in the House, the concurrent resolution must now pass in the Senate before it can regulate the joint affairs of the House and Senate.

The full text of the resolution is available here.

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