Rand Paul: "We're compromising all the time to spend more money."


David Weigel at Slate on Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) complaining about his party's attitude toward military spending cuts, the day after Dick Cheney tried to talk Republicans' into dumping a looming $700 billion in military spending cuts called for by a past "sequestering" deal:  

"Most people in our conference," said Paul, "are on the side [that thinks] that they need to do anything now to avoid the military sequester. I think there is a little bit of irony in that most of them voted for the military sequester. I didn't vote for it. They all voted to raise the debt ceiling with a military sequester, and now they're all basically caterwauling about it."

….In order to extend the debt limit through to 2013, most Republicans and Democrats eventually agreed to $1.4 trillion of "triggered" cuts—sequesters. Half of the money would be taken out of domestic discretionary spending over 10 years; half would be taken from the defense budget over 10 years, a slash of around 8 percent….

"They seem to say, 'Well, we are for certain revisions to make the military more efficient,' " said Paul. "I'm of the belief that nothing around you will ever be efficient unless the top line number is lower. So, they don't like what they call sequester. To me, that means that the top line number is lower, and if you really believe in savings in the military budget or else you'd have to find the savings, you'd be forced to find the savings. If they could offset it with true one-to-one spending cuts somewhere else, I might consider supporting that. If it's like most of the games they play around here—they give us cuts over 10 years to pay for something over one year—I'm not going to vote for that, because really, we're going back on what we promised the American people during that whole battle was that we're going to be more fiscally responsible."

Paul didn't take a position on the Ryan "sequester replacement." That plan won't make it through the Senate, anyway. But he disagreed with it in spirit. "Conservatives defend military spending," he said. "Liberals defend domestic spending. The idea [is] that both sides get together and compromises and we reduce all spending … and right now, and really for the last 50 years, we've done the opposite. Our compromise has always been: We raise military spending and we raise domestic welfare spending. So when people say we're not compromising, they're missing it completely. We're compromising all the time to spend more money."

Peter Suderman from November 2010 on Republicans who support defense cuts.