Rand Paul

Rand Paul, Justin Amash Trash the GOP Majority's Debt-Ridden Budget Plans

The Kentucky senator is taking steps to distance himself from Republican leadership.

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Gage Skidmore / Foter

When the Senate took the first of many steps in the Obamacare repeal process this week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was the only Republican to vote in opposition.

But it's important to understand that what happened this week wasn't a straightforward Obamacare repeal vote, and Paul wasn't voting to keep the law in place. He was voting out of objection to the GOP's debt-laden budget plans.

The vote was the first step in a long and convoluted budget process that Republicans are hope to use as a vehicle for repealing major components of the law. That process, known as reconciliation, is complex and convoluted, and it will take weeks if it goes swiftly, but could easily take much longer.

After the Senate adopts a budget resolution, the House must follow with its own. Then the two must come together, either through a conference process or by adopting the same measure. From there committee instructions are drawn up, and the process splits into two tracks again, with relevant House and Senate committees putting together their own reconciliation bills, each of which must be debated in multiple committees and then passed by the full body, and then unified again, likely requiring yet another conference process. Only then can the bill be sent to the president's desk. (A Roll Call infographic helpfully lays out the basics here.)

Ultimately, there's no guarantee that this process will actually end with the repeal of the health law.

So what we saw this week wasn't the main event. If this were a dinner party, it wouldn't be the meal. It wouldn't even be setting the table. It would be more like deciding that perhaps there should be a meal several weeks or months down the road, with no final agreement about what might be on the menu.

Paul's no vote was an objection to the budget itself—which adds to the national debt and provides no clear path to budget balance—not to repealing the health care law.

Here's how he explained it:

"As a physician, I cannot wait to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a health care system that relies on freedom to provide quality, comprehensive, and affordable care," Paul said in a statement, reports the Lexinton Herald-Leader. "But putting nearly $10 trillion more in debt on the American people's backs through a budget that never balances is not the way to get there. It is the exact opposite of the change Republicans promised, and I cannot support it, even as a placeholder….Not only are we not cutting spending, but we are also proposing an increase at an exponential pace. There is no reason we cannot repeal Obamacare and pass a balanced budget at the same time."

This isn't the only objection Paul has raised to the GOP's plans this year. He has also been among the most vocal GOP legislators in opposing Republican leadership's "repeal and delay" strategy on Obamacare, which would repeal the law but leave it in place for several years while the GOP worked out a replacement plan. It looks as if Paul is deliberately taking steps to distance himself from the party and its leadership in order to preserve a measure of independence.

Paul isn't the only Republican to trash the GOP's budget plans either.

The House is expected to vote on its own budget resolution today, and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan) says he's voting no because the plan would add far too much to the debt. "By nearly every measure," he wrote last night, the current proposal "is the worst budget I've seen as a congressman."

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  1. I thought we’d learned by now that outside of a select few, the GOP is just as happy to run up a huge deficit as the Democrats.

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  2. When the Senate took the first of many steps in the Obamacare repeal process this week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was the only Republican to vote in opposition.

    Don’t need to read further. RINO. Sad!

    1. Given the current abject state of the GOP, “RINO” could theoretically be a compliment these days.

  3. “The Kentucky senator is taking steps to distance himself from Republican leadership.”

    Laying the groundwork for 2020.

    1. Kmele is going to need a VP.

      1. Paul is but a ripple riding the Kmele wave.

        1. The coherent photon wave to the moon?

  4. He has also been among the most vocal GOP legislators in opposing Republican leadership’s “repeal and delay” strategy on Obamacare, which would repeal the law but leave it in place for several years while the GOP worked out a replacement plan.

    It could be fake news, but I read a couple of articles through Facebook that Trump endorsed Paul’s approach. I have to admit, it would be hilarious to watch Suderman twist himself up in knots if that prooves true.

    1. As if the GOP would ever have any kind of “replacement plan”.

  5. We get the House.
    We get the Senate.
    We get the White House.
    We get a budget that grows debt by $9 trillion?

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you….The Party of Stupid.

    1. They’re a dog chasing cars. They don’t know what to do now that they’ve actually caught one.

      1. Do they really look like a party with a plan?

      2. They know what they want to do, spend a shit ton of money on bullshit, just like the last time they had power. This is entirely expected behavior from the Republican party.

        1. Trump is going to balance the budget by restructuring the F-35 project saving the country a yuuge amount of money and finishing it. I heard him say so at that press-conference!

          “We’re gonna do some big things on the F-35 program and perhaps the F-18 program. We’re going to get those costs way down and we’re going to get the plane to be even better and we’re going to have some competition and it’s gonna be a beautiful thing.”

          Though I’m not quite certain how you “get costs way down” after you’ve spent the money, but hey, I’m not “Top-Men” am I.

    2. Stupid?

      It’s stupid only if you (wrongly) perceive Republicans and their base as being opposed to government spending and handouts generally.

      They’re opposed to government spending and handouts to the wrong people. The Republicans will receive enthusiastic support from their constituents for their waste and largess when it is funneled towards people and groups that match their aesthetic preferences, and in that sense this behavior is perfectly rational.

      1. I’ve said something along these lines for quite some time. Supporters and voters (such as Hannity) believe what the Republican pols them, then vote for them. When the pols then get the power and seek to increase it, the supporters and voters call them “stupid.” Oh really? YOU guys are the ones who swallow their campaign promises hook, line, and sinker. The Republican politicians are the ones who get reelected and consolidate their power and rake in the money by posing as “conservatives.”

        Tell me again — WHO is stupid here?

        1. So, we’re getting the government we deserve?

      2. “They’re opposed to government spending and handouts to the wrong people. ”

        Yup.

  6. On a more serious note, who didn’t see this coming. First the GOP leadership tells us they can’t do anything until they get control of Congress. Then they tell us that, while Congress is all well and good, they really can’t do anything until they get Congress and the Senate. Then, it’s they can’t do anything until they also get the White House. And we all know the next step – “Well, we can’t do anything. If we did, it would risk our losing control of Congress or the White House”. Anyone want to take the over under that if they get “repeal and delay”, we’ll see them pass as many extensions as they can find?

    1. You had Reid hamstringing Republican legislators in the senate through 2014; after November, they were still hamstrung by recalcitrant Dems. And sitting atop the mess was always finger-wagging Obama promising to veto anything they sent up that didn’t comport with his grand vision of American technocracy. I suspect stupid party is going to stupid no matter how many offices they hold, but the blame for Congressional obstruction lays squarely on Democrats.

    2. Well trump and many reason writers don’t want to fix the welfare state so this is hardly surprising.

      1. Well trump and many reason writers don’t want to fix the welfare state so this is hardly surprising.

        As in “fixing a dog” or “fixing a game”?

    3. The over-under doesn’t really work if it’s set to infinity.

  7. Wait,someone still thinks the Republicans want to reduce spending? Tigger please.

    1. Republicans in Congress don’t care about reducing spending (there are exceptions). They care about maintaining power. The people who really need to be convinced are the voters.

  8. What are the chances that Trump reads a headline about the debt in the budget and says no? Is that a possibility? I honestly have no idea. I could see it happen.

    1. I could see it happen.

      Orange is within the spectrum of colour-blindness, by the by.

    2. It needs to be done by the Post or the NYT and they need to say it in a way that pisses him off.

      Something like: “Trump overcompensates for small ‘hands’ with huge budget increases.”

      1. I believe a headline such as, “Trump, The Businessman, Has No Clue How To Balance Budget”, could work wonders. When dealing with a maniacal egotist, telling them they cannot do something is usually strong motivation for them to prove you wrong.

    3. It could happen. Yeah, and monkeys could fly out of my butt.

      Either way, not holding my breath.

  9. That process known as reconciliation, is complex and convoluted, and it will take weeks if it goes swiftly, but could easily take much longer

    If instead the process goes shcwifty, it could bring some sick beats to the floor.

  10. A few years ago I remember Paul Ryan saying over and over again that if he were ‘in charge’ he would see that the House actually produced a budget. So what’s his excuse now?

  11. “By nearly every measure,” he wrote last night, the current proposal “is the worst budget I’ve seen as a congressman.”

    Umm. I don’t mean to be pedantic, but Mr. Amash was first elected in 2011. Has Congress actually passed a budget since he’s been a congressman??

    1. Even if they haven’t, he is still technically correct that it is the worst one he’s seen.

      Of course, it would simultaneously be the best one he’s ever seen, as well.

      1. This is the worst Gojira comment I have ever seen posted at 12:06 on a Friday the 13th.

        1. 1 + 2 x 6 == 13.

          Friday the 13th is a horror franchise.

          Gojira Jimbo loves horror.

          Gojira Jimbo loves being technically correct about budgets.

          Budget dispute resolutions often cost 13 rubles.

          Conclusion:

          Gojira Jimbo must be liquidated by hockey masked men named Yuri and Nikita, who will charge 13 rubles.

      2. Schrodinger’s Budget?

    2. They passed an actual budget in 2015. Otherwise, it’s been all continuing resolutions since the 2009 budget. But also the President has submitted a laughable wish list of a budget every year, I think. So if Amash is comparing this budget to those then it must really be a doozy.

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  13. Just like all the rest of his fellow scumbags in the JournoList, fake libertarian douchebag here is now once again pretending that he actually cares about debt and deficits.

    I guess he thinks we’ve all forgotten how during the government shutdown kerfuffle, he went completely hysterical and told the republicans they should just shut up, suck Obama’s cock, and give him everything he demanded without complain.

    Sorry,, but we haven’t forgotten what your true colors look like, you piece of crap.

    1. You may be going a little too far with that.

      1. I don’t think so. I welcome anyone here to point me to one article Suderman has ever written here or anywhere else criticizing any of Obama’s budgets or his fiscal record.

        I’ll give anyone as much time as they need, but I know nobody will be able to show it to me, because it doesn’t exist. On the contrary, the one or two times the republicans made even a mild, halfhearted effort to try to enforce a bit of fiscal discipline, Suderman attacked them for it and said they just should just shut up and give Obama everything he demanded.

  14. “The Kentucky senator is taking steps to distance himself from Republican leadership.”

    We should be careful not to read too much into this.

    The reason Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader in the Senate rather than sitting at home and watching it all on TV is because he cut a deal with Rand Paul. Rand Paul used his influence with the Tea Party, both in the Senate itself and with the grass roots back in Kentucky, to save McConnell ass as Senate Majority Leader and from being defeated by a Tea Party candidate in the primaries.

    In exchange, Mitch McConnell used his influence in the Kentucky state legislature to help get a law passed that made it so Rand Paul didn’t need to resign his seat in the Senate in order to run for President.

    I don’t think there are two politicians outside of the White House who owe each other more and work closer together than Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell. Politics make strange bedfellows.

  15. I am still a Rand fan. It is easy for me to identify with the lone voice in the wilderness.

  16. “We get a budget that grows debt by $9 trillion?”

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

  17. “We get a budget that grows debt by $9 trillion?”

    But but but Hillary was going to destroy the Republic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hey, drink the poison or bullet to the head, at least you have a choice. Right?

  18. Occam’s razor doesn’t lead me to believe that Rand Paul is a loose cannon.

    I suspect Rand Paul was able to stake a position out for himself as a principled fiscal conservative (and inoculate himself against charges that he’s an extremist who voted to get rid of ObamaCare) because McConnell assured him that they had the votes anyway.

  19. $10 trillion more in debt? Does this budget even reflect the positives/negatives of cutting corporate tax rates to, say, 20%? And why, after nearly eight years, don’t the GOP policy wonks in the back room at RNC have a repeal/replace bill ready to deal with Obamacare?

    1. And why, after nearly eight years, don’t the GOP policy wonks in the back room at RNC have a repeal/replace bill ready to deal with Obamacare?

      They do, but the guy who wrote it has been appointed to Trump’s cabinet.

  20. Republicans have said the increase in the budget is just a tactic in on the road to repealing the ACA and is not really how things are planned. I don’t trust it and agree with Paul.

    1. Tactic. Yeah. Just like all the bullshit spending the last time the GOP was in the majority was just a “tactic”. Cut spending (and I mean a real cut, not just a smaller increase) mofos, and I might actually believe a word you say.

  21. STILL no Massie.

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  25. Trump will preside over the collapse of the bankrupt welfare state. There is nothing he can do about that and he will be blamed for it. Rand Paul should prepare for a serious primary challenge against Trump/Pence or an independent libertarian run in 2020. If he doesn’t, the next president will be a millennial socialist.

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