At least one Senate Republican is planning to vote against both House Republicans’ plan to cut $61 billion across federal agencies and Senate Democrats’ plan to cut about $5 billion.
Kentucky’s Rand Paul, one of the founding members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, said Tuesday he will vote against both measures when they come up for votes Wednesday afternoon.
“I can’t vote for anything that incorporates spending that would give us a deficit of a trillion and a half,” Paul said. “I think that’s too much.”
The move marks Paul’s latest vote against his party’s leadership; he has parted ways with Senate Republicans on several other votes this session, including a measure extending key provisions of the Patriot Act and a bill to prohibit the aiming of laser pointers at aircraft.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who is up for reelection in 2012, announced earlier Tuesday that he intends to vote against both measures because they are two “wildly different proposals” that represent ideological extremes.
Two other moderate Democrats up for reelection in 2012, Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.), declined to say Tuesday night how they planned to vote on the funding measures.
Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, another moderate, said she had made up her mind but wasn’t ready to announce her vote on Tuesday. “I’m trying to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good here,” she said.
Earlier Tuesday, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) announced his support for the House Republican measure after previously saying he’d vote against it. Another moderate Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), said Tuesday night he would vote in favor of the House Republican plan.
“In a month in which we’ve borrowed over $200 billion just to run the government, we’re clearly approaching a point of some economic danger,” said Kirk, who in November won the seat previously held by President Obama.