LEWISTOWN - Addressing the $16 trillion national debt is one of Republican Rep. Tom Marino's biggest concerns.
Marino, who represents the U.S. 10th Congressional District, to which Mifflin and Juniata counties were recently moved, said the national debt is out of control.
He said paying the national debt down will take a decade, maybe even two, but he feels the time has come to deal with this dilemma.
Marino is also worried about the credit downgrade for the United States and the fall of the dollar, as well as the possibility for inflation in the future.
Marino said both parties are at fault for the debt and all options should be on the table to pay it down.
Washington's spending problem, as Marino puts it, could be partially curtailed simply by shrinking the size of government. Not through layoffs, but through attrition, when people retire or leave the government workforce.
"The new members (of Congress) are a different breed ... we are determined to get this country turned around," Marino said.
Marino proposed that perhaps "for every percentage point the debt increases," the pay of those in Congress should be decreased by a certain amount, which would serve as a motivating factor to pay down the debt.
"We should lead by example," he added.
Marino also proposes re-evaluating the departments of education and energy, because the dropout rate in public education has never been higher and the country's current energy policy is geared toward a reliance on foreign imports, like oil, he said.
Marino said the country has continued to throw money at these two departments and it's time to "shut them down and go back to the drawing board."
As to the country's energy woes, Marino has put together a commission of experts on energy policy, from business leaders and academics, to scientists, none of which are politicians.
Marino has asked the committee to get back to him in the coming months and report their findings, which he in turn will present to the Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration.
Marino said the natural gas industry Pennsylvania could be the jump start for the economy.
"Pennsylvania could be the next Texas of the 21st century ... if we play our cards right, it could be the next Saudi Arabia of the 21st century," Marino said referring to the natural resources both areas have.
Marino also supports term limits, repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and reworking Medicare and Social Security so they are around for future generations.
Marino is up for re-election in November and faces Democratic challenger Phil Scollo.