Taxes & Spending

Rand Paul won’t vote for the Paul Ryan budget plan

Sen. Rand Paul won’t vote to repeal sequestration — not, at least, without whittling the budget in other areas.

The Tea Party-backed freshman from Kentucky talked with Human Events Wednesday about his ongoing efforts to advocate a balanced U.S. budget and fiscal responsibility, even when it means painful cuts.

Paul said he planned to vote nay on the budget plan offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which cleared the house late last month with a partisan majority. While Ryan’s budget does roll back the deep cuts that would hit defense with the scheduled sequestration measure and takes an axe to a number of bloated government programs, it doesn’t balance — at least, not for 28 years.

Paul said almost three decades is too long to wait.

“You look at the life expectancy of most of Congress… I might not be here in 20 years, and I’m on the younger side,” he said.
Paul said he might be more likely to support a new budget proposal from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), which would balance in 2020 through reforms in the tax system, discretionary spending, and other programs.

Paul’s own budget plan, unveiled last month, would find a surplus in five years by means of sweeping cuts and reforms, including eliminating the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, while still finding money to prevent the sequester cuts to Defense programs.

He said he expects the proposal to gain more votes this year than the seven it earned last year — and that was still seven more than the Obama proposal got, Paul reminded reporters.

“I think our budget is sort of the hall of fame for conservative ideas; what it would be if we were in charge,” he said.
 
Still, Paul said, he would pass up any measure to thwart the $500 billion or more in cuts coming to the Defense Department with sequestration if it didn’t come with commensurate cuts in other parts of the budget, and he said he believed other lawmakers would take a similar stance.

“I won’t vote to abrogate the sequester on its own. I think that would be a mistake,” he said.

Will a measure come up that meets his requirements before sequestration takes effect?

“I don’t know,” Paul said.

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