Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
By Seth McLaughlin - The Washington Times
December 11, 2013, 10:36AM
Sen. Rand Paul added his name to the list of lawmakers opposing the bipartisan budget deal carved out between House and Senate negotiators, saying it is “shameful” to restore previously agreed to spending cuts in exchange for promises of future deficit reduction.
Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican and likely 2016 presidential contender, said that the two-year spending proposal is like many that have come before it.
“There is a recurring theme in Washington budget negotiations. It’s ‘I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,’” Mr. Paul said in a statement. “I think it’s a huge mistake to trade sequester cuts now for the promise of cuts later.”
Separately, House Speaker John Boehner, a supporter of the budget deal, sharply attacked outside conservative groups that have attacked the compromise, charging that critics opposed the agreement even before knowing what was in it.
“They’re using the American people to their own purposes,” an angry Mr. Boehner said. “This is ridiculous.”
The lead negotiators in the Senate and House — Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican — announced Tuesday that they had reached a deal that would reduce the deficit by $23 billion over ten years without raising taxes.
The proposal, though, has drawn the ire of conservatives who say that Republicans should not be giving up ground to Democrats on the previously agreed to spending cuts — known as sequesters — to defense and non-defense programs that were agreed to as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act.
The deal calls on Congress to set aside $1.012 trillion in discretionary spending for the Pentagon and other federal agencies in fiscal year 2014 and $1.014 trillion for fiscal year 2015.
It restores $63 billion in sequester cuts.
“The small sequester spending cuts were not nearly enough to address our deficit problem,” Mr. Paul said.
“Undoing tens of billions [of dollars] of this modest spending restraint is shameful and must be opposed. I cannot support a budget that raises taxes and never balances, nor can I support a deal that does nothing to reduce our nation’s $17.3 trillion debt.”