WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Calling attention to the nation's mounting national debt, Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, placed a debt clock in front of his Washington office.

The clock, which will be updated daily, read on Wednesday $7.671 trillion, or $27,000 per person.

"It is our hope that by providing a daily, visual reminder of our nation's staggering national debt, we will inspire Congress to work for a solution," said Bishop, member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate to conservative House Democrats with reputations as fiscal hawks. "In order to cure our nation's addiction to deficit spending, we must first admit that we have a problem."

Several other members of the Blue Dog Coalition joined Bishop in displaying a debt clock in front of their offices. By next week, more than two dozen coalition members are expected to participate, said a press release from Bishop's office.

Earlier this year, the Blue Dogs released a 12-Step Reform Plan to get America's fiscal house in order:

- Require a balanced budget.

- Don't let Congress buy on credit -- pay as you go.

- Put a lid on spending.

- Require federal agencies to put their fiscal houses in order.

- Make Congress tell taxpayers how much they're spending.

- Set aside a rainy-day fund.

- Don't hide votes to raise the debt limit.

- Written justification for earmarked projects.

- Ensure that Congress reads the bills it's voting on.

- Require honest cost estimates for every bill that Congress votes on.

- Make sure new bills fit the budget.

- Make Congress do a better job keeping tabs on government programs.

"With record deficits on the rise, it is clear that the only way to get our fiscal house in order is to change the way Congress budgets taxpayer dollars," the congressman said. "We must take a cure from the common sense approach that American families and business take to their own budgets. The importance of the reform plan is underscored by the ever-rising numbers that are now posted in front of our offices. This is a call for action."

For additional information on the Blue Dog Coalition and to see the "live" national debt clock, visit: http://www.house.gov/cardoza/BlueDogs/bluedogs.htm.

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