SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers advanced a resolution Monday calling on Congress to end deficit spending, balance the federal budget and begin paying off the national debt, but not without some verbal jabs from Democrats about the Trump administration's contributions to that debt.
HCR17, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, decries federal spending that has brought total national debt to nearly $21 million and urges Congress to "end its destructive policy of deficit spending through monetization."
Ivory likened the current state of federal spending to trying to walk the wrong way on a moving walkway in the airport.
"We've got this monetary, moving sidewalk coming against us," Ivory said. "We're simply by this resolution saying that we know this, that the debauching of currency is a serious matter we need to take seriously, we're never going to tax our way ahead of the amount of money that's being created and the devaluing of currency."
The resolution states that despite warnings for decades, Washington has "ignored its inner Jiminy Cricket, opting for more everlasting burnings of an inevitable debt hell."
House Minority Leader Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, asked Ivory a pointed question: Over the last 12 months, under the Trump administration, has the level of national spending improved?
"No, I don't think we've moved in the right direction in deficit spending in the last number of administrations, Republican or Democrat," Ivory replied.
King pushed further: "So you think from 2009 to January of 2017 was as bad as what we've seen from January 2017 until now in terms of national spending?"
Ivory replied: "Yeah, so if you look at the national debt over the last 10 years is about $11 trillion —"
"It's a simple question," King interrupted, rephrasing his question so his point was clear: Under the Trump administration, has the situation improved or deteriorated?
"Well, it's certainly not gotten better," Ivory answered.
"It's gotten worse. A lot worse," King said.2 comments on this story
King said it would be a "false equivalence" to compare the current administration's actions to other years. From 2011 to 2017, Washington was making progress on debt, he said, but in the last year, with the federal government controlled by the GOP party, "we've seen unprecedented levels of deficit spending" with Congress passing federal tax reform "that has dramatically increased the amount of deficit spending."
"That's remarkable," King said.
"I completely agree," Ivory said.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee ultimately passed the resolution out favorably, but King and one other Salt Lake City Democrat, Joel Briscoe, voted against it, taking issue with a provision advocating for a return to a fixed standard for U.S. currency.