Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Tuesday announced that he is an original cosponsor of legislation that would allow states to return unwanted federal funds to the U.S. Treasury for the express purpose of paying down the national debt. The legislation is sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
“We need to move more decisions from Washington to Tennessee, and that ought to include states being able to return federal money to show President Obama and Congress how to address out-of-control spending,” Senator Alexander said. “For eight years as governor I balanced Tennessee’s budget. Today, state leaders continue to show that they’re the best ones to decide whether it’s worth their while to accept federal money – and the increased federal spending and meddling that often comes with it.”
The “Returned Exclusively For Unpaid National Debt (REFUND) Act” would allow states to identify unwanted federal funds through a resolution from their state legislatures. These unwanted funds would then be allocated towards debt reduction at the Treasury Department, and require that an annual report be submitted to Congress each year detailing the amount deposited by each state. Currently, if states opt not to take federal funds, the funds often go to other states, which supports a “use-it-or-lose-it” approach.
Senator Alexander has also introduced the “Fiscal Sustainability Act” with fellow Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker, which would reduce growth in entitlement spending, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, by $1 trillion over 10 years.