The next several months in Congress are bound to be challenging, and many tough conversations need to be had. With the tax issue behind us, we have the debt ceiling debate ahead, as well as the need to replace pending automatic cuts known as the “sequester” with more targeted budget cuts that will not hurt our military and national defense.

I am looking at these upcoming debates as an opportunity to truly focus on our nation’s out-of-control spending. Years of reckless spending have maxed out our country’s credit card, but instead of stepping up to make the necessary decisions to pay that credit card down, too many in Washington are choosing to look the other way and pass the bill to our children and grandchildren. This is not just wrong, I believe it is immoral.

Now over $16 trillion, our nation’s debt is crippling. In the House of Representatives, we have taken decisive action to change the attitude in Washington and focus on prioritizing government spending. We’ve continued to pass a budget every year, despite the Senate’s lack of fiscal leadership. In fact, it has now been over 1,350 days since the Senate passed a budget. South Dakota’s families and small businesses know what it’s like to have to meet a budget. When money gets tight, tough decisions have to be made. If South Dakotans understand the principle of only spending the money they have, why can’t our federal government?

Instead of focusing on real solutions that will grow our economy and create jobs, we continue to see ridiculous proposals coming out of Washington. For example, there is discussion now about minting a trillion dollar platinum coin that can be deposited into the Federal Reserve to avoid hitting the debt ceiling. When I first heard about this, I thought it was a joke. However, there are many in Washington – including some members of Congress – who are actually talking about this as a serious option. The fact that some believe we should mint a magic coin to make the realities of our fiscal situation disappear is embarrassing. That’s why I will be cosponsoring legislation, known as the “Stop the Coin Act,” to make sure this ridiculous proposal could never be acted on.

Washington needs to own up to its spending problem. Does that mean we’re going to have to make some tough decisions that some folks won’t be happy about? Yes. But if we want to leave our children and grandchildren with a better America, and if we want to avoid going down the same path as Greece, then these are decisions that must be made.

Rep. Kristi Noem is South Dakota’s lone U.S. Representative, elected in November 2010. She serves on the Agriculture and Armed Services Committees.

Do you want to sign up for my E-Newsletter?