Press Releases

Financial Services Committee to Begin Hearing Series on the National Debt

Washington, March 21, 2014 - Amid signs that the issue of deficits and debt have fallen off Washington's radar, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) today announced his committee is undertaking a series of in-depth hearings focused on the threat posed by America's rising national debt.

“After having served on the House Budget Committee, the Simpson-Bowles Commission and the so-called ‘Super Committee,’ my laptop’s memory is full of reports and testimony warning that America is headed for a spending-driven debt crisis.  The debt is the single greatest existential threat facing our nation and it is a disservice to the American people not to put this threat front and center of every debate in Washington,” Chairman Hensarling said.  “Yet lately the refrain from many is ‘we’ll deal with that later.’  It reminds me of the lyrics from a popular country song – ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now.’

“Our debt is not only an economic dilemma, it is a profound moral one as well. It will harm not only America’s future, but it hurts us today.  Congress and the Administration should be bringing more attention to this threat.  Our committee is going to do its part.  This record level debt is undoubtedly adversely affecting entrepreneurs' access to capital, domestic monetary policy and international financial markets,” Chairman Hensarling said.

The committee’s first hearing on the national debt -- “Why Debt Matters” -- will take place on Tuesday, March 25 at 10:00 a.m.  The focus of this first hearing will be to examine the impact the nation’s $17 trillion debt has on economic growth, jobs and the federal government’s ability to fund discretionary spending and entitlement programs. 

Future committee hearings in the series will include a look at how debt crises affected other nations and what spending programs are the chief drivers of our debt.

During the first debt hearing, the Financial Services Committee will hear from:

Alice Rivlin, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and the director of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform.  She recently served as a member of the President’s Debt Commission, was the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), served as director of the Office of Management and Budget, and was a Federal Reserve Vice Chair.

David Cote, Chairman and CEO of Honeywell, a $40 billion diversified technology and manufacturing company.  Cote served as a founding member of the steering committee of the Campaign to Fix the Debt.  In 2010, he was named by President Obama to serve on the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President of the American Action Forum. Holtz-Eakin most recently was a Commissioner on the Congressionally-chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and previously served as Chief Economist of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and as director of CBO.

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