Colorado Senator Mark Udall is co-sponsoring legislation that would add an amendment to the US Constitution directing Congress to balance the federal budget each year, similar to what many states already require.
"It's important that all members, including myself, start putting our money where our mouths are and work together on important matters including the national debt," the Democrat said, in a conference call with reporters.
But if the measure passes, there would be some exceptions. Federal spending could not exceed incoming revenue unless the country is at war as declared by Congress, or unless 3/5 of both the House and Senate voted to suspend it.
Senator Udall noted that in the past 50 years, the federal budget has been balanced only five times.
"We can keep dithering, but it's my strong belief that we need to take action now," he said.
Udall is a co-sponsor of the legislation with Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama).