Cornyn, Kyl Introduce Measure on Foreign Debt

Posted: May 20, 2011 3:32 PM

On Monday, we discussed  the embarrassing spectacle of Chinese officials dressing down a group of Senators over our spiraling foreign debt obligations.  After the US treasury slammed into the debt ceiling early in the week -- and in light of Sen. Bennet's humiliating exchange with foreign debtors -- two Republican Senators have reintroduced The Foreign-Held Debt Transparency and Threat Assessment Act.  The bill requires the president to regularly assess the adverse affects of our foreign debt vis-a-vis our national security posture, and makes it easier for the public to track precisely what we owe, and to whom.  Sen. Cornyn's office passes along some additional details about the aims of the proposal:

1)  Improve transparency and reporting regarding overall foreign holdings of U.S. debt, equipping U.S. policymakers with a more accurate picture of which countries are financing U.S. deficit spending;

2)  Require the President to provide Congress with quarterly risk assessments—both classified and unclassified—on the national security and economic hazards posed by current levels of foreign holdings of U.S. Government “debt instruments”;

3)  Instruct the GAO to provide Congress with an annual risk assessment on national security and economic hazards posed by the national debt, as well as recommendations for reducing federal spending;

4)  Require the President, in the event that any heightened risks are found to exist, to address those risks and implement a plan of action to reduce Federal spending.

Sen. Cornyn tells Townhall his colleagues' awkward encounter with Chinese apparatchiks should serve as a wake-up call for all Americans.  “It is time for the U.S. to open its eyes to the dangers of this overreliance on foreign countries to finance our reckless deficit spending.  And, frankly, it is embarrassing that the U.S. – the world’s preeminent economic power – finds itself in the curious position of being lectured by Communist-led China on the importance of fiscal responsibility and economic growth,” he said.