Sen. Schatz: The Question is Can We Maintain Debt-Service Payments -- 'We Can'

By Ashlianna Kreiner | August 12, 2021 | 5:21pm EDT
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)  (Getty Images)
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) (Getty Images)

Editorial Note: This story was corrected on Aug. 13, 2021 to report that Sen. Schatz said debt-service payments "can" be maintained, and not "can't," as originally reported. We apologize for the error. 

(CNS News) – When asked if the $28.4 trillion federal debt was too much, Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said, “I think the question is whether we can maintain debt-service payments, and we can."

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, CNS News asked the senator, “The debt of the federal government is now $28.4 trillion. Is that too much?”

Sen. Schatz said: “I think the question is whether we can maintain debt service payments, and we can."

According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “This year [2021], the federal government will spend $300 billion on interest payments on the national debt. This is the equivalent of nearly 9 percent of all federal revenue collection and over $2,400 per household.” 

CNSNews.com then asked, “Is there any federal agency or program that you would eliminate to reduce the federal spending?”

The senator responded, “That is not the kind of question I usually answer while entering an elevator.”

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the total public debt outstanding as of Aug. 9, 2021, was $28,427,651,083,061.54, or roughly $28.4 trillion.

The federal debt did not surpass $1 trillion until fiscal 1982. That fiscal year, according to the Treasury, the debt started at $997,855,000,000 and ended at $1,142,034,000,000.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Over the last 39 years, the debt has ballooned, from $1.1 trillion to $28.4 trillion. The federal debt did not surpass $1 trillion until fiscal 1982. That fiscal year, according to the Treasury, the debt started at $997,855,000,000 and ended at $1,142,034,000,000.

Over the last 39 years, the debt has ballooned, from $1.1 trillion to $28.4 trillion. In the 1994 Contract With America, conservative Republicans called for eliminating the Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

In the federal government, in addition to the legislative, judicial, and executive branches, there are 15 departments, such as Defense, HHS, Commerce, and Education. Also, there are approximately 453 agencies.

According to The Hill, “The federal government employs nearly 9.1 million workers, comprising nearly 6 percent of total employment in the United States. The figure includes nearly 2.1 million federal employees, 4.1 million contract employees, 1.2 million grant employees, 1.3 million active duty military personnel, and more than 500,000 postal service employees.” 

Transcript

CNSNews.com: “The debt of the federal government is now $28.4 trillion. Is that too much?”

Sen. Schatz: “I think the question is whether we can maintain debt-service payments and we can.”

CNSNews.com: “All right, and is there any federal agency or program that you would eliminate to reduce the federal spending?”

Sen. Schatz: “That is not the kind of question I usually answer while entering an elevator.”

CNSNews.com: “All right, thank you.”

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