D.C. Delegation – Lummis, Barrasso and Hageman:Decreasing national debt, nursing home staffing and vehicle kill switches.
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) joined U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) in introducing the Fiscal Stability Act which would create a bipartisan, bicameral fiscal commission tasked with finding legislative solutions to stabilize and decrease our national debt, which now exceeds $33.6 trillion—more than double what it was just ten years ago. Senator Lummis has consistently expressed concerns that future generations in Wyoming will be stuck under a mountain of debt that they can never climb out from if the government does not balance the budget and begin paying down the debt.
“Since becoming a Senator in 2021, my highest priority has been placing our budget on a sustainable path. We have a moral obligation to future generations to rein in unchecked spending and address our surging national debt, rather than willfully saddling our grandchildren with a bill they cannot afford to pay,” said Lummis. “The people of Wyoming want commonsense solutions to balance our national budget, which is why I am joining Senators Romney and Manchin to establish a bipartisan fiscal commission laser-focused on improving our nation’s financial health.”
Sen. Lummis was one of the first to propose a fiscal commission in Congress when she introduced the Sustainable Budget Act in 2021.
The U.S. National Debt sits at $33.7 trillion which breaks down to:
More than $100,000 per citizen and more than $250,000 per taxpayer.
In September, interest on the debt surpassed defense spending to become the single largest item in the budget, and is only growing.
About the Fiscal Stability Act:
The bill would establish a 16-member bipartisan, bicameral commission consisting of 12 elected officials and four outside experts.
The Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader each appoint four individuals to the Commission, of which three must be members of their respective chambers and one must be an outside expert.
The commission would produce a report and propose a package of legislative solutions to improve the long-term fiscal condition of the federal government, stabilize the ratio of public debt to GDP within a 15-year period, and improve solvency of federal trust funds over a 75-year period.
The commission would be required to vote on approval of the report and legislative language by May 1, 2025.
Any report or legislative language produced by the commission must be approved by a majority of the 12 elected official members, with at least three being from each party.
If the commission approves proposed legislative language, it would receive expedited consideration in both chambers.
While 60 votes would be required to invoke cloture prior to final passage in the Senate, only a simple majority would be needed for the motion to proceed, which would be privileged.
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) regarding the agency’s proposed minimum staffing standards in nursing homes. Specifically, the senators disapprove of the administration’s one-size-fits-all approach that does not account for the needs of rural states, such as Wyoming.
Should the proposed rule become a requirement, it will result in nationwide nursing home closures due to provider shortages, financially devastate facilities in Wyoming, and leave vulnerable individuals in rural communities without care. The letter urges CMS to rescind the proposal and work with Congress, states and key stakeholders on alternative solutions.
“Across the country, Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities face dire workforce shortages. The United States is projected to have a 10 to 20 percent shortage of nurses in the coming years,” the senators wrote. “If the proposed rule is implemented, many LTC facilities will be forced to hire additional Registered Nurses (RNs). Additional RNs will cost facilities in Wyoming at least $500,000 in annual salaries or more should they be forced to hire travel nurses to supplement their permanent workforce.”
“CMS estimated the proposed rule would cost $40.6 billion over ten years. It stated, ‘LTC facilities would be expected to bear the burden of these costs, unless payers increase rates.’ Many LTC facilities will be unable to take on these staggering new costs. We are concerned that facilities may decide it is no longer economically viable to accept government insurance, resulting in our nation’s most financially and physically vulnerable individuals being turned away from care,” the senators continued. “We are willing to work with your agency on proposals to improve LTC for patients and providers. The best way to accomplish this goal is by working with Congress, key stakeholders, and states to ensure federal mandates do not exacerbate the serious challenges already facing facilities across the county.”
U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman
The House continued to debate FY24 appropriations this week, including some of my amendments to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill.
• We continue to put forward fiscally-sound, common-sense legislation that reduces the profligate federal spending from the last few years, reins in out of control agencies, and places our country on a better financial footing. Here’s an update on my amendments to the bill.
• Amendments #43 and 57 prohibit the use of federal funds for remote work agreements for Department of Transportation employees and for Housing and Urban Development employees residing within 50 miles of a HUD office.
• Includes my amendment, which directs $5 million of the FAA’s funds toward increasing the aviation maintenance technician development program.
• I also supported an amendment from my dear friend Thomas Massie that would have blocked an effort to mandate vehicle kill switches in all U.S. cars manufactured after 2025. These switches are advertised as a way to prevent impaired driving, but this vague mandate contains no firm details on who will be able to access the data used by these switches, how they will operate, or what will happen if the system malfunctions. This also raises serious questions about privacy and other fundamental liberties. This mandate simply contains too many unknowns and potential constitutional violations to allow this program to proceed without answers to these important questions. Unfortunately, colleagues from both sides of the aisle sided with the Biden Administration to keep this deeply flawed – and likely unconstitutional – program in place.