Jeff Flake - U.S. Senator ~ Arizona

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) today released the following statement on the national debt surpassing $20 trillion:

“No budget gimmick or phony spending offset can hide the fact that $20 trillion is the largest debt ever owed by any nation in history. It’s time for Congress to change the way Washington does business. Shutting down the Washington favor factory with a permanent ban on earmarks and eliminating duplicative, wasteful, and unnecessary federal spending would be a good start.”

Background:

  • Flake is currently seeking cosponsors on draft legislation to implement a permanent, statutory ban on congressional earmarks.
  • In January 2017, the Senate Republican Conference approved Flake’s amendment to extend the Senate moratorium on earmarking into the 115th Congress. For more information on Flake’s earmark ban extension, click here.
  • In August 2017, Flake reintroduced the Debt Buy-Down Act, legislation that would empower every taxpayer to mandate up to 10 percent of the hard-earned dollars they send to Washington be spent exclusively on paying down the national debt. Had the Debt Buy-Down Act been law in 2016, taxpayers could have directed as much as $137 billion toward reducing the national debt. Flake first introduced the Debt Buy-Down Act in 2010, when the national debt was $13 trillion. For more information on the bill, click here.  
  • Since 2014, Flake has published seven oversight reports identifying more than $100 billion in wasteful and egregious federal spending, including:
    • Tax Rackets: Outlandish Loopholes to Lower Tax Liabilities (2017) - singled out a series of egregious tax loopholes benefiting a select few that could cost an estimated $50 billion over the next decade.
    • Wastebook: PORKémon Go (2017) – identified 50 examples of outrageous and wasteful federal spending amounting to more than $5 billion.
    • Twenty Questions: Government Studies That Will Leave You Scratching Your Head (2016) – identified 20 hard-to-justify, taxpayer-funded studies that diverted more than $35 million that Flake argued would have been better spent researching treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral infections such as Zika and Ebola.
    • Wastebook: The Farce Awakens (2015) – identified 100 examples of wasteful federal spending amounting to more than $100 billion. 
    • Tackling Paid Patriotism (2015) – joint report with U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that identified $6.8 million paid by the Pentagon to professional sports teams to honor American soldiers at sporting events. The report resulted in taxpayers recouping nearly $850,000 for improper payments.
    • Jurassic Pork (2015) – highlighted the continued cost of pork projects in the post-earmark-ban era.
    • Science of Splurging (2014) – identified millions of dollars in wasteful and egregious spending by the Environmental Protection Agency.