U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Tuesday voted to create a bipartisan task force to address America’s skyrocketing national debt, which is $12.3 trillion and rising. But the amendment failed by a vote of 53-46. (60 votes were required for passage.)
The Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action Act, introduced by Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), would establish an 18-member task force to develop and vote on a series of recommendations to correct the federal government’s fiscal imbalances.
Corker was surprised that the act did not have broader support.
“I don’t see how anyone could be opposed to a statutory commission, established by Republicans and Democrats, to create a road map for dealing with America’s unsustainable entitlement spending,” he said. “With our country having racked up more than $12.3 trillion in debt and Medicare and Social Security rapidly approaching insolvency, our future prosperity as a nation literally hangs in the balance. Lacking any construct for fiscal discipline, Congress has repeatedly failed to address the coming fiscal calamity for political reasons, leaving us at point where we cannot wait any longer to act.
“We shouldn’t let politics keep us from making tough decisions that will put this country on solid footing,” Corker continued. “If the task force’s recommendations are not good, vote against them. But let’s put a process in place to make sure seniors continue to have Medicare and Social Security and young people in this country aren’t burdened with huge amounts of debt because we lack the courage to fulfill our responsibilities to the American people.
“I cannot support increasing the debt limit any further without a guarantee that Congress will make an honest attempt this year to restore fiscal discipline.”
(From a press release issued by Sen. Corker’s office on Tuesday.)