Devin and Elizabeth Nunes
WASHINGTON – Three Republican U.S. representatives, including two future committee chairmen, have introduced a bill in the U. S. House that sends a clear message to state legislators: “get your fiscal houses in order, and don’t expect any more federal bailouts.”
California Republicans Devin Nunes and Darrell Issa and Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan are sponsoring the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act, which would require states to disclose publicly the true size of their unfunded pension liabilities, and also would prohibit any future public pension bailouts by the federal government.
Ryan is the incoming House Budget Committee chairman, and Issa is slated to chair the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“If you look at the unfunded liabilities out there just in the federal government, it’s mindboggling,” Nunes told WND. “Look at the states, a lot of the information has not been out there.”
Nunes contends the unfunded state pension liabilities may exceed $3 trillion, and he intends to guarantee that the massive size of the shortfall will no longer be concealed by accounting gimmicks.
“We’re making sure people know these benefits won’t be there unless steps are taken quickly by the states,” Nunes told WND. “We want to make information available so people can make intelligent decisions about their government.”
Nunes, the author of the bill, acknowledged it will go nowhere in the current Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, but he promised to reintroduce the bill when Republicans take over in January, and he revealed that a corresponding bill would also be sponsored in the Senate.
“We wanted to get the language out there so people could have time to review it, and we want people to know we’re serious,” Nunes told WND. “We have the right people supporting the bill in Congress, and the right outside groups. This bill has tremendous credibility.”
Nunes suggested the public is not aware that pensions promised by all levels of government lack adequate financial backing.
“Lucrative pension promises are being made to public employees that taxpayers simply cannot afford,” wrote Nunes on his website. “The plans themselves admit to more than a $1 trillion in unfunded liabilities … Unfortunately, the true level of unfunded liabilities associated with these plans – perhaps more than $3 trillion – is being hidden thanks to unrealistic accounting standards.”
Nunes also heralded the end of the federal bailouts for irresponsible state legislators.
“We’re trying to expose what really going on with the unfunded liabilities of these state and local governments,” Nunes explained. “The local governments … are using federal subsidies to fund local projects. How much longer can we continue to subsidize local big government if we don’t know their unfunded liabilities?”