Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., is once again giving the RINOs in the Republican Senate conference heart palpitations by staunchly refusing to betray conservative principles.
Paul says he cannot support the Republican budget resolution because of excess deficit spending. He’s called out Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as fake conservatives for using budget gimmicks to circumvent spending caps.
For this, Paul is being accused of trying to “screw up” tax reform — which can only be passed using the budget reconciliation instructions in the GOP budget. But Sen. Paul insists that as a conservative, he cannot support fiscally irresponsibility.
On Tuesday, Sen. Paul told C-SPAN he supports the GOP tax reform plan, but not in the context of increased government spending.
“Many people have pointed that this could actually be a tax cut,” Paul explained. “I actually do advocate a tax cut, I’m fine with a tax cut, and people say, well, is that fiscally responsible?”
“In the context of believing in spending cuts, it would be. And that’s what our budget document is, it’s a document that represents are we for spending cuts, are we fiscally responsible?” he continued. “So I can’t vote for one without the other. So, I can vote for a big tax cut. I’ll vote for almost any tax cut that comes down. I’m for stimulating economic growth through a tax cut. But I won’t do it and then say I’m also, I don’t care about spending.”
“The budget vote to me is a symbol and a guidepost as to what we are as a party and what we stand for,” he added. “And the people like McCain and Graham who parade as conservatives that are not really conservative, they need to be called out because they are bankrupting our country by sticking money in the OCO funding [Overseas Contingency Operations] to the tune of trillions of dollars over the last fifteen years.”
The RINO records of McCain and Graham are reflected in their dismal “F” Liberty Scores.
Sen. Paul is exactly right. The RINOs supporting this bloated budget claim that Paul needs to stop worrying about the excess spending because the budget is “wholly meaningless” and is ultimately just a vehicle for tax reform. Well, if it’s true that this budget is just for tax reform and meaningless otherwise, why must this excessive spending be included? Why should Sen. Paul be forced to concede it? Why shouldn’t Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham be asked to vote for a budget that respects the Republican platform and upholds the conservative principles of reining in excessive government spending?
Sen. Paul will give McCain, Graham, and everyone else in the U.S. Senate the opportunity to do just that. Paul will put forward an amendment that is the same budget without the excess spending, giving all Republicans an opportunity to show that they are real conservatives who do not support excessive deficit spending.
But Sen. Paul doesn’t expect his amendment to pass.
“They are playing a game,” Paul said. “They are playing the public and they are playing us for fools. Why is the deficit bigger all the time under Republicans or Democrats? Because neither one of them are conservative. And I’m frankly infuriated by the idea that these people will continue to throw wool over the eyes of the American voter and simply say ‘oh, we’re conservative,’ and yet they pass stuff that is just frankly not conservative.”
Some conservatives argue that if we just elect more Republican senators, we can finally pass conservative legislation. Specifically, Jim Geraghty made that argument for National Review last week, criticizing efforts to primary sitting Republican senators.
The “elect more Republicans” argument is clearly insufficient, given that the Republicans we already have cannot even agree to virtue-signal a willingness to cut spending in a “meaningless” budget.
Were it not for Rand Paul, the Republicans would get away with their budget gimmicks, telling voters they support spending cuts while carving out a path for spending increases. If the establishment had its way, Rand Paul would not be in the Senate to expose their deceit. Recall that Paul was an insurgent tea party candidate in 2010, defeating a McConnell-backed establishment candidate.
The vote on Senator Paul’s forthcoming amendment will demonstrate why Paul has an “A” Liberty Score and there is a need for different, more conservative Republican senators in office.
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Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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