Rubio proposes state option of returning federal funds to reduce US debt

"Excessive spending is fueling our growing debt, yet states have little say in what happens to federal money if they choose not to spend it," Rubio said in a press release. "The REFUND ACT can help end the 'use-it-or-lose-it' mentality which encourages states to take debt-financed money from Washington. Instead it will empower them with a way to help slow the steady rise of the national debt."

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The bill, S. 692, allows states to designate federal funds as "unwanted" by passing a resolution in the state Legislature. Returned funds would then go toward reducing the national debt.

Rubio says returning the money in this way would prevent the federal government from spending the money in other ways.

Last week, Rubio highlighted Florida's decision to reject $2.4 billion in federal money to fund a high-speed rail project. The federal government then turned around and offered that money to rail programs in other states.

"Many state officials and leaders realize the national debt is an increasing burden to our children and grandchildren and want to help stop Washington's spending spree to help alleviate that burden," he said. "The REFUND Act will give states an opportunity to end the practice of spending money we don't have and serve as an incentive for them to help pay down the debt and re-embark on a path toward economic growth and opportunity."

Rubio's bill has 16 co-sponsors in the Senate, all Republicans.