Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio today introduced the Returned Exclusively For Unpaid National Debt (REFUND) Act. This legislation would allow states to identify and return unwanted federal funds to the federal Treasury in order to help pay down the national debt. A companion bill, H.R. 1358, has already been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Denny Rehberg (MT-al).
“The REFUND Act ends the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ mentality that encourages states to take debt-financed cash from Washington that will be a crushing burden on our children and grandchildren,” said Senator Rubio. “Fiscally responsible state officials should be allowed to divert Washington's spending spree towards debt reduction and do their part to end the practice of spending money we don't have.”
“It takes a great deal of courage for state officials to take the long view and reject debt-financed federal funds, but this legislation will encourage them to make decisions with their state’s and nation’s best interests at heart and without worrying that the money will be spent elsewhere if they don’t,” added Rubio. “For our children’s and grandchildren’s sake, Washington’s dysfunctional culture of borrowing and misspending has to end, and this is one way states can join the fight for this national cause.”
The REFUND Act would allow any state, to designate federal funds as “unwanted” through a resolution from the state legislature. 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. The REFUND Act has been endorsed by Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU).
“In just three pages, the REFUND Act restores a big piece of fiscal sanity to Washington, D.C.,” said Rep. Denny Rehberg. “It’s really very simple. If a responsible state tightens its belt to save tax dollars, we shouldn’t be rewarding irresponsible states by adding those savings to their take. We’ve got to put an end to the Washington system that subjects state lawmakers to partisan attacks for having the audacity to save the taxpayer money. Instead of the wasteful ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ approach to federal spending, the REFUND Act creates an efficient system that operates on the principle of ‘a dollar saved is a dollar earned.’”