Our debt was $3.5 trillion in 1993, and nearly two decades later, it stands at a staggering $13 trillion, yet Congress continues to add to that heft with one bloated spending bill after another.

Spending has become a widespread epidemic in Washington, D.C., and many members of Congress are unwilling to pursue meaningful steps toward reining in our escalating national debt. As a result of the continual generational theft Congress has committed, we reintroduced the 1993 debt-relief bill in the House and Senate.

The Debt Buy-Down Act of 2010, a sensible but not ground-breaking bill, will allow American taxpayers to budget their own tax dollars with the aid of a simple checkmark on yearly tax returns. This option would allow individuals to designate up to 10 percent of their federal-income-tax liability to go toward reducing the federal debt.

Our legislation does not ask taxpayers to sign away any part of their potential federal-tax refund but simply allows taxpayers to earmark a portion of taxes to buy down the debt - now that's the kind of earmark we can support!

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We believe that if Congress can't be bothered to curb spending and reduce the crippling economic debt, the American taxpayers will happily step in.

The Debt Buy-Down Act of 2010 doesn't stop at requiring debts to be paid off, which might inspire Congress to raise taxes and continue its spending spree, but would require cuts in federal spending in the same amount as the total debt reduction chosen and directed by the taxpayers.

Social Security benefits, benefits for the uniformed services, and payments for net interest would be exempted from any across-the-board spending cuts should Congress fail to enact specific debt reductions by the mandated date.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the 2010 fiscal-year deficit is forecast to be record-breaking at an estimated $1.5 trillion based on President Obama's budget. At this rate, the U.S. debt will reach an astounding $20 trillion by the end of the decade.

Based on recent congressional spending habits, Congress will most likely resist a cure to this illness. We can no longer sit idly by while saddling future generations of Americans with an ever-growing deficit. If we are serious about our commitment to reduce our debt and eliminate our deficit, then Congress needs to start making some tough decisions about our national priorities, and we need to start now.

The Debt Buy-Down Act of 2010 deserves swift passage.

Cross-posted from The Arizona Republic