WASHINGTON, D.C. — The head of the committee responsible for oversight of the federal budget says the national debt, $27 trillion and climbing, isn't as big of a deal as some might think. It comes as fiscal conservatives raise concerns about the more than two trillion dollars in government spending passed by Congress this week as part of annual appropriations and coronavirus relief.
What You Need To Know
- National debt is at $27 trillion and climbing
- Congress passed trillions in government spending this week, part of annual appropriations and COVID-19 relief
- Rep. Yarmuth argues it isn't as big of a deal as some may think, Sen. Paul disagrees
"We have no inflation in the economy. We got the value of the dollar that is holding up against all of the currencies, and we have historically low interest rates," said Rep. John Yarmuth, (D-Ky.), who chairs the House Budget Committee.
Yarmuth argues he's not alone in his reasoning, and that everyone from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to economists that served in the Obama Administration agree with him.
Try telling that to fiscal conservatives. One of the loudest among them is Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
"Every taxpaying American already owes over $136,000, and they're staring at projections into the future that show no end. We are $27 trillion in debt today. How do we expect a child to have economic opportunity when this crushing debt is their inheritance from Congress," said Paul in remarks on the Senate floor.
"Not only can we afford it as a federal government, we can't afford not to do it because of the human suffering that's going on throughout the country and the danger to the infrastructure of the economy. The federal government is the only entity that can afford it. States can't afford it. Local governments can't afford it. Businesses can't afford it," Yarmuth pushed back.
To illustrate his grievances, Sen. Paul releases waste reports.
Some of the recent federal spendings he takes issue with include $36 million to the National Institutes of Health to study why hair turns gray and $4.5 million to the NIH and VA to spray alcoholic rats with bobcat urine.
This system of large federal spending likely won't change anytime soon. Some members of Congress can get their passion projects snuck into large federal spending bills.
"Congress should do away with automatic spending increases and scrutinize where in the budget we can find savings to pay for the pressing needs arising from the pandemic. We shouldn't simply print up money and pass it out to everyone," said Paul.
"We've more than doubled the national debt in the last 12 years, and there has been no adverse consequences," said Yarmuth.