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President Biden passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act


WASHINGTON — Even though the House still has no speaker, that doesn’t mean lawmakers can’t try and be productive elsewhere. In a House hearing on Thursday, members of Congress heard expert testimony on the feasibility of a proposed debt commission.

“Our federal debt currently stands at over $33.5 trillion,” said Rep. Rudy Yakym (R-IN-2nd). “That equates to a debt-to-GDP ratio of 124-percent. No one can look at these numbers and believe that the fiscal state of our nation is sound.”

The debt-to-GDP ratio is the metric used to gauge whether a particular country can pay off its debt. The higher the percentage, the less of a chance there is to do that effectively. Yakym said the U.S. spending habits have led to high inflation and other economic challenges.

The House Budget Committee heard from several witnesses, most of whom were former members of Congress, who gave their insight on how the current Congress can reverse the trend of increasing spending.

Some like former Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), praised lawmakers for advancing “serious legislation” that he said could help curtail the problem from getting worse. Others, like former Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), said it’s the job of Congress to fix the spending problem, not an independent commission.

“I fully support establishing a fiscal commission, but we need to carefully design it so that we don’t actually do nothing,” Yakym said. “We all know what the problem is. The federal government spends way too much money without regard to our national debt.”

Though the discussions appeared productive, any movement on a debt commission in the House stops with the hearing that took place as lawmakers still try to hammer out who will be speaker of the House.