The Big Picture
It should come as no surprise that the United States has placed itself into a very precarious fiscal and financial situation. Budgetary control efforts imposed around the start of the decade have already been all but forgotten. Due in no small part to the astronomical amount of COVID-19 stimulus spending, the federal government posted record breaking deficits for FY 2020 and is on track to once again break that record in FY 2021.
In spite of this, Congressional Democrats continue to appropriate unprecedented amounts for economic stimulus at a dizzying pace. Meanwhile, trillions of dollars in taxpayer dollars that have already been appropriated as COVID-19 stimulus have yet to be disbursed. Before providing even more federal funding for this purpose, Congress should demand an accurate accounting of the funds they’ve already provided for. This resolution would do just that, providing Members of Congress an accurate view of existing funding. Without such transparency and accountability, appropriators will continue to throw taxpayer dollars at the COVID-19 pandemic without any regard for what has already been provided.
COVID-19 Stimulus Spending
- All told, Congress has authorized around $6 trillion in federal spending, tax cuts, loans, grants, and subsidies to address COVID-19
- Democrats recently passed a partisan $1.9 trillion in new “stimulus” funding
- An estimated $1 trillion of the previously-authorized $4.1 trillion stimulus has yet to be disbursed
- Much of the funding provided in the most recent package is redundant, considering federal agencies still have a trillion in unspent funds and only about 10 percent of the most recent package is even related to COVID-19
Our Current Situation
- The United States’ national debt has ballooned to over $28 trillion
- This amounts to nearly $224,000 per taxpayer
- Federal deficits for FY 2021 are already on track to exceed the record breaking $3.1 trillion deficit for FY 2020
- Our Debt-to-GDP ratio has risen to an unhealthy 130 percent
Why it Matters
Transparency and accountability are two central pillars of representative democracy. The public has a right to see and understand what their representatives are doing on their behalf so that their constituents can hold them accountable for their actions. It is in the interest of transparency and accountability that the federal government should report on how taxpayer dollars are being spent — or not being spent.
Typified by the numerous reports of fraud and abuse of the Paycheck Protection Program and other CARES Act funding, the federal government has completely bungled the economic response to COVID-19. Rather than taking a targeted approach to help Americans get back to work, Congress has instead chosen to continually throw unprecedented amounts of taxpayer money at the problem. This pervading sense that “we need more stimulus” runs entirely counter to the fact that a significant portion of the funds already provided have not been spent. Congress should get its own house in order before providing even more stimulus.
Record breaking federal spending on COVID-19 stimulus demands proper accounting, and this resolution would provide much needed transparency and accountability. We appreciate the hard work of Sen. Scott and Rep. Smith and hope that other members of both chambers of Congress will seek transparency and support S.Res. 88 and H.Res. 127.