In an impassioned speech ahead of an expected Wednesday vote on a budget and debt ceiling deal, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took to the Senate floor to criticize the legislation for its outright fiscal recklessness and lambaste both parties for their roles in crafting it.
Paul’s speech began as a eulogy for the Tea Party movement, the fiscal legacy of which would be eviscerated by the provisions of the proposed deal.
“Can you hear it? Can you hear the somber notes, the feet shuffling, the solemn tones? Can you hear it? It’s a dirge, a funeral march; it’s the death of a movement,” Paul said. “A once-proud movement with hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall, it’s the death, it’s the last gasp of a movement in America that was concerned with our national debt.”
“Today’s vote will be the last nail in the coffin; the Tea Party is no more,” Paul continued. “Adoption of this deal marks the death of the Tea Party movement in America. Fiscal conservatives, those who remain, should be in mourning; for Congress — both parties — has deserted you.”
A vote on the bill was initially expected Wednesday, but Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said after Paul’s speech that the vote would happen on Thursday instead. Timing of a vote, however, remains unclear at the time of publication.
In his speech, Paul went on to castigate both major political parties for putting this deal together, saying, “The media says, ‘Oh, there’s not enough compromise in Washington.’ Exactly the opposite of the truth! There’s too much compromise in Washington; there’s always an agreement to spend more money.”
As an alternative to the deal, Paul proposed a compromise that would allow for an increase of the debt ceiling in exchange for “significant spending cuts, caps on spending, and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.” A balanced budget amendment simply requires that the federal government to pass a balanced budget every year. On Twitter, the senator claimed that 98 percent of the government would be funded under such a requirement.
Paul also specifically criticized his Republican colleagues in the Senate, some of whom he predicted would vote for his amendment to reform the deal, but ultimately also vote to pass “the deal that will bankrupt our country.”
“But before we make this about Republicans,” Paul added, “let’s remember that there’s not a Democrat in Washington that cares about the debt.”
“The difference between the parties are the Democrats are honest. They are very honest, they don’t care about the debt; look, they’re all over the states falling all over themselves trying to give health care to illegal aliens,” the Kentucky senator said in reference to the 2020 Democratic primary field.
“Today’s vote will be a vote for a monstrosity — an abomination,” Paul added.
Paul’s full speech can be found on C-Span.