Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul penned a letter to colleagues Monday stating that he will vote “no” on the spending plan deal to cut $38 billion for the rest of the fiscal year.
In detailing his opposition to the fiscal year 2011 budget negotiated by the White House and congressional leaders, Rand wrote: “I didn’t come to Washington to settle for $6 billion less in spending than if I had not been here” -- a reference to the roughly $33 billion in cuts initially proposed by House Republican leaders before House freshmen objected.
“I suspect most of my freshmen House friends didn’t, either. That’s barely half a day’s spending at our current pace... ,” Rand said.
“Think about it another way before you vote: The entire budget cut plans skim three percent off the top of our historic $1.65 trillion deficit,” Paul continued. “That means the side of Big Government got 97 percent of what they want.”
Paul and Sen. Jim Risch (Idaho) were the only Senate Republicans who opposed Friday evening’s stopgap measure to keep the government funded for one week so that the paperwork on the budget deal could be worked out.
The long-term funding measure is expected to easily pass both chambers, but – by its very nature as a compromise – the bill has drawn the disapproval of members on both sides of the aisle.
Earlier Monday, five Democratic members of New York’s congressional delegation held an event with nonprofit leaders to protest the $38 billion in cuts. Reps. Jerry Nadler, Charlie Rangel, Carolyn Maloney, Eliot Engel and Anthony Weiner blasted the funding cuts to community development block grants, education and the Women Infants and Children Program.
“The Republican-imposed budget cuts for both 2011 and 2012 are the most radical I’ve ever seen and represent an all out war on the middle class, on low income people, on seniors, on kids, on anyone who’s sick, and on anyone who thinks that the country ought to remain competitive and generate jobs,” Nadler said in a statement. “The mythical obsession with balancing the budget and slashing spending is a mirage which merely conceals a violent imposition of austerity measures on those who can least afford them.”
The full letter from Paul is below.
To my fellow Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives,
The much-ballyhooed 2011 continuing resolution will leave the federal government spending $1.6 trillion more than it takes in. Despite descriptions of cuts, the 2011 Congress will spend more than it did in 2010 and with a larger annual deficit. It is the third year in a row with a record deficit.
Only in Washington can a budget that spends more than it did the year before, with a larger deficit, be portrayed as “cutting.”
The only “good news” from the 2011 CR would be that it adds less debt than President Obama’s plan, but it does not appreciably change the accumulation of debt.
Last November, riding a wave of voter discontent with out-of-control government spending, nearly 100 new House and Senate Republicans were sent to Washington to put an end to Big Government.
Most of us are small-government conservatives, who truly believe the size and scope of our federal government needs to be reversed. But being serious about this mission requires being honest with those who sent us; and it requires standing up when our leaders themselves abandoned their promises.
House Republicans were all voted in on the promise to pass a spending bill that cut $100 billion, a modest proposal when you consider our estimated $1.65 trillion deficit.
House leaders promptly floated a 2011 spending cut of less than $33 billion in January. House freshman rightly balked, saying that is not what they promised and not why they came to Washington. So the leaders went back to the drawing board and proposed a better, but still inadequate, $61 billion.
Fast-forward to last week. What numbers were the House, Senate and White House officials negotiating over? The difference between $33 billion and $40 billion. Note that the original House proposal somehow morphed into the White House/Senate Democrat proposal. If that doesn’t show the complete failure in the initial House proposal from January, I don’t know what does.
Finally, with great hand-wringing and drama, negotiations settled on just over $38.5 billion, or roughly $6 billion more than the freshmen objected to in January.
I didn’t come to Washington to settle for $6 billion less in spending than if I had not been here. I suspect most of my freshmen House friends didn’t either. That’s barely half a day’s spending at our current pace. This discussion is simply not credible or serious, and unfortunately, it has not been from the beginning, as the House leadership has made clear.
Think about it another way before you vote: The entire budget cut plans skim 3 percent off the top of our historic $1.65 trillion deficit. That means the side of Big Government got 97 percent of what they want.
I prefer to be on the other side. The side of the people who sent us here to Washington to do something. To cut spending. To save our economy. To move toward a balanced budget.
I will vote a resounding NO this week to this so-called deal. And I urge my colleagues, if they are serious about cutting government spending, to do the same.