Public Warnings

This page presents public warnings about the size and unsustainable trajectory of the U.S. National Debt made by the Federal Government Organizations and Individuals in their professional capacity. The list is in addition to CBO’s warning’ and it is not all inclusive:

 Director of National Intelligence:

Chairman of the Federal Reserve:

  • “I’m very worried about U.S. Debt.” (Federal Reserve Chairman, Chairman Jerome Powell – Economics Club of Washington D.C. January 10, 2019)
  • “And it is widely agreed that the federal government debt is on an unsustainable path.” (Federal Reserve Chairman, Chairman Jerome Powell Statement at the Senate Banking Committee. The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress, February 26, 2019)
  • “The nation also continues to confront important longer-run challenges. … And I remain concerned about the longer-term effects of high and rising federal debt, which can restrain private investments and, in turn reduce productivity and economic growth.” (Federal Reserve Chairman, Chairman Jerome Powell – The House Committee on Financial Services – Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy,  July 10, 2019)
  • “It’s essential that Congress raise the debt ceiling right away so the United States government can pay all of its bills when asked,” Powell said on Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee. “Any other outcome is unthinkable. We’ve always paid our bills, and it simply must happen that Congress raises the debt ceiling.” (Federal Reserve Chairman, Chairman Jerome Powell, Senate Finance Committee reported by Fox News ) 

Congressional Budget Office:

  • “The U.S. Government is on an unsustainable fiscal path. U.S. debt as a percentage of GDP is growing, and now growing sharply, growing quickly, faster and is unstainable by definition– we need to stabilize debt to GDP.” (Director of Congressional Budget Office, Keith Hall – Semi-Annual testimony before Congress February 26, 2019)
  • “… The amount of debt that is projected under the extended baseline would reduce national saving and income in the long term; increase the government’s interest costs, putting more pressure on the rest of the budget; limit lawmakers’ ability to respond to unforeseen events; and increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis. (In that event, investors would become unwilling to finance the government’s borrowing unless they were compensated with very high interest rates.)” (Congressional Budget Office – September 20, 2018 )
  • “A rising level of government debt would have another significant negative consequence. Combined with an unfavorable budget outlook , it would increase the probability of a fiscal crisis for the United States. In such a crisis, investors would become unwilling to finance all of the government’s borrowing needs unless they are compensated with very high interest rates; as a result the interest rates on government debt rise suddenly and sharply relative to rates of return on other assets. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict with any confidence whether and when such a crisis might occur in the United States; in particular there is no identifiable tipping point of debt relative to GDP indicating that a crisis is likely or imminent. But all else being equal, the higher the debt , the greater the risk of such crisis.” (Congressional Budget Office, Economic and Budget Issue Brief, Federal Debt and the Risk of a Fiscal Crisis July 27, 2010)
  • “A sudden increase in interest rates would also reduce the market value of outstanding government bonds, inflicting losses on investors who hold them. That decline could precipitate a broader financial crisis by causing losses for mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, banks, and other holders of federal debt—losses that might be large enough to cause some financial institutions to fail.” (“Federal Debt and the Risk of a Fiscal Crisis.” Congressional Budget Office, July 27, 2010.  -Page 7)

Office of Management and Budget:

Senate Finance Committee:

S.3182 — 114th Congress (2015-2016) Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2016

  • Purpose and Scope – Reducing the nation’s debt—currently close to $19.4 trillion—and returning public finances to a more solid long-term path is essential. Doing so requires transparency and accountability of federal agencies engaged in managing the country’s fiscal affairs.
  • Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and other financial regulators have withheld crucial information from Congress and the American people regarding aspects of debt management, including contingency plans for what would be done if, cyberattacks, terrorist attacks, severe weather events, or other contingencies lead to delayed payments on Treasury securities. Federal agencies have also withheld information about how to address downgrades of the U.S. sovereign credit rating, such as the first-ever downgrade in 2011. Moreover, sufficient information has not been shared by Treasury about how much cash is in the Treasury’s till or when a statutory debt limit will be reached. Impending debt limit breaches have caused bouts of destabilizing uncertainty. So, what should be done?
  • Congress and the American people should understand, in detail, the fiscal position of the federal government. That requires full transparency and accountability on the part of Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and other financial regulators about debt management, as well as contingency plans. And, a new process is needed when a statutory debt limit is impending—one with transparency, accountability, and shared planning between Congress and the Administration. ( The Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act

 House of Representatives:

  1. Res. 149 – 116th Congress (2019-2020) Introduced in House (02/26/2019) – This resolution recognizes that the national debt is a threat to national security and that deficits are unsustainable, irresponsible, and dangerous. It also commits to restoring regular order to the appropriations process and addressing the fiscal crisis faced by the United States:


Whereas, in February 2019, the total public debt outstanding was more than $22,000,000,000,000, resulting in a total interest expense of more than $192,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2019;

Whereas, on December 21, 2018, the total public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product was 104 percent;

Whereas the last balanced Federal budget was signed into law in 1997;

Whereas, in fiscal year 2018, Federal tax receipts totaled $3,329,000,000,000, but Federal outlays totaled $4,108,000,000,000, leaving the Federal Government with a 1-year deficit of $779,000,000,000;

Whereas, every year since the last balanced Federal budget was signed in 1997, Congress has failed to maintain a fiscally responsible budget and has typically relied on raising the debt ceiling;

Whereas the House of Representatives failed to pass a balanced budget for fiscal year 2019 and failed to restore regular order to the legislative process by not allowing Representatives to offer and debate amendments;

Whereas regular order permits the House of Representatives to separately debate and adopt all appropriations bills in a timely fashion and facilitates congressional oversight of Federal spending;

Whereas the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees project that the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will be depleted in 2026;

Whereas the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees project that the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund will be depleted in 2034;

Whereas the credit rating of the United States was reduced by Standard and Poor’s from AAA to AA+ on August 5, 2011, and has remained at that level since that date;

Whereas, without a targeted effort to balance the Federal budget, the credit rating of the United States is certain to continue to fall; Whereas the National Security Strategy issued by President Donald Trump highlights the need to reduce the national debt through fiscal responsibility;

Whereas, on April 12, 2018, former Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that “any Nation that can’t keep its fiscal house in order eventually cannot maintain its military power”;

Whereas, on March 6, 2018, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned: “Our continued plunge into debt is unsustainable and represents a dire future threat to our economy and to our national security”;

Whereas, on November 15, 2017, former Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta, Ash Carter, and Chuck Hagel warned: “Increase in the debt will, in the absence of a comprehensive budget that addresses both entitlements and revenues, force even deeper reductions in our national security capabilities”; and

Whereas, on September 22, 2011, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen warned: “I believe the single, biggest threat to our national security is debt”:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) recognizes that the national debt is a threat to the national security of the United States

(2) realizes that deficits are unsustainable, irresponsible, and dangerous;

(3) commits to restoring regular order in the appropriations process; and

(4) commits to addressing the fiscal crisis faced by the United States.

  • “In a brief interview Monday evening, Pelosi said two factors above all played a critical role in her successful behind-the-scenes negotiations with Mnuchin: avoiding a stock market collapse and the fiscal fallout from failing to raise the debt ceiling.” (CNN)

Treasury Secretary:

  • “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin informed congressional leaders on Friday that the government could run out of money in early September, pleading with lawmakers to reach a deal to raise the government’s borrowing limit before their August recess or risk a potentially catastrophic default.” (New York Times)

President of the United States:

  • “When you hit $24 trillion, and we’re going to be there very soon, because it’s building up very quickly . . . when we hit that $24 trillion number, we become Greece on steroids,” he said in August 2015. “I mean, we have a lot of problems in this country.” (Donald Trump per Washington Post, )
  • Donald Trump Reportedly Shrugged Off Looming Debt Crisis Because ‘I Won’t Be Here’
  •  “Who the hell cares about the budget?” (Donald Trump per Washington Post)

  • Unsustainable Federal deficits and debt are a serious threat to America’s prosperity, and if America’s spending and debt crisis are not addressed and lower economic growth continues, American families will see a much lower standard of living… (President Trump 2021 Budget)