Rand Paul

Rand Paul Wants to End Military Slush Fund to Evade Spending Caps, Calls Out GOP Colleagues for Budget Hypocrisy


At a press conference this afternoon about the ongoing budget process in the Senate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced that he told President Donald Trump today that he, Paul, "wants to be supportive, wants to be a 'yes' vote" but that he also wants the Senate to "obey its own rules" regarding spending limits before he does so. He credited Trump with helping get Paul to vote to let the debate on the budget proceed, which barely passed today, 50-47. (For background on the budget battle, see Matt Welch's post from earlier today.)

Gage Skidmore/Foter.com

Paul is frustrated, he says, that "Republican leadership tells us the budget means nothing, it's just a piece of paper" and that it's "only a vehicle to repeal Obamacare, or to cut taxes." Paul specifically called out GOP colleagues John McCain of Arizona and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina for being "not fiscally conservative" and wanting essentially unlimited spending.

He specified entitlement reform as an area where vague discussions of $96 billion in cuts are in the budget with "no instructions on how it is to be done" and "no bill in any committee" actually offering any real legal process for reform.

"My question" to his colleagues, Paul says, is: "Are people serious or are they all hypocrites?" Paul detects "no mechanism, no will" for actual spending cuts moving forward.

He singled out the Overseas Contingency Operations fund as a way for Republicans to continue "dishonestly saying they are adhering to budget caps" while actually spending as much on the military as they like; Paul would like to squash as much as $43 billion in extra spending concealed in that fund. He alluded to colleagues who in the past have at least been annoyed at that gimmick to get around spending caps, but he admits he doesn't know of any mad enough about it to join him in voting against the budget over it.

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  1. Paul seems to be trying to manage Trump rather than make an enemy of him.

    1. He’s good at not directly attacking Trump as a person. It seems he doesn’t get too boisterous if one doesn’t do that.

      1. Maybe he was really hurt that time Trump called him ugly and he doesn’t want to risk more emotional abuse.

        1. Perhaps. But Paul SHOULD feel bad about how curly his hair is. So he should have to face it and he should have to live with it.

          1. Very much like Donald Trump, Rand Paul’s hairdo seems like a symbol of his entire personality.

              1. Stubbornly uncool and a little off, on Paul’s part. Trump’s is much more interesting. Just think about how that–whatever it is on his head–kind of explains everything.

                It’s not just that he’s so cocooned by yes-men that he actually thinks it’s OK to go in public with that on his head. It’s a cry for help from a pathological narcissist. It’s not good hair. It’s very very bad, strange hair. But he has to believe that it’s the best possible hair, even though it’s literally the worst. If he were to ever admit the truth about his hair–or himself–he’d utterly break.

                1. If your theory holds true, you must consist entirely of asshole hair.

                  1. LOL. Sick burn.

                  2. It must be regularly pampered or it gets unruly.

                    1. Shut the fuck up Hail Rataxes.

      2. Attacking Trump personally gets you nowhere. Schoolyard bullying is the only thing Trump is good at, and the only way to win his game is not to play.

  2. All those TeaTypes crying ‘audit the FED’ need to change their signs. We need to audit /the Pentagon/.

    Have they EVER in the entire existence of the DOD as currently configured, survived an independent fiscal audit by the GAO?

    Or doesn’t that matter to the rah-rah nationalists?


    1. Are Tea Partiers still really around?

      Regardless, I agree. Audit the entire federal government. Transparency is virtue, often discussed but not meaningfully sought.

    2. The DoD books are literally “unauditable” according to their IG (or the omb, i forget who, exactly). This was from some report 5 or 10 years ago.

      1. Well I guess they’re lucky this time. Let’s just keep on going exactly the same way.

  3. “Are people serious or are they all hypocrites?”

    Rand is *so* good with those rhetorical questions.

  4. “My question” to his colleagues, Paul says, is: “Are people serious or are they all hypocrites?” Paul detects “no mechanism, no will” for actual spending cuts moving forward.

    Sounds like he hit his head when he fell off the turnip truck.

  5. “”My question” to his colleagues, Paul says, is: “Are people serious or are they all hypocrites?””

    easy answer Rand – yes, they’re all hypocrites.

    Didn’t you notice how quickly they give up ‘states rights’ rhetoric when it comes to States legalizing recreational cannabis? Or prohibiting commercial discrimination against gay people? Or doing ANYTHING they don’t like? Ever once heard a conservative say ‘well, I disagree that Colorado ought to allow people to buy pot legally, but that’s state’s rights for you’? No, and you never will. Didn’t you notice how they NEVER attack State level weapons regulations. EVER. You didn’t notice that? Really? Didn’t you notice how they love Ronnie Reagan, even though he signed off on California’s open carry prohibition as a reaction against them evil BLACK people who were exercising their rights, and scaring policemen into not oppressing and torturing black men. Can’t have THAT!

    Didn’t you notice how they say one set of things on the campaign trail to rally up the base, and then get into office and do nothing to advance the culture-war agenda that they campaigned on, and instead do everything they can to steer lucrative contracts to their friends and campaign contributors, and reducing the ‘regulatory burden’ on only those folks who give them money?

    1. Well put. Glad to see there are still libertarians here.

  6. He alluded to colleagues who in the past have at least been annoyed at that gimmick to get around spending caps, but he admits he doesn’t know of any mad enough about it to join him in voting against the budget over it.

    Indeed, that would be madness.

  7. Why not drastically cut spending? I mean, except for the obvious corruption and vote-buying.

  8. Anyone else think it’s funny that Trump can’t get anything passed because Rand Paul, like all libertarians, believes that half a loaf is worse than no loaf?

    1. A little. Glad to see someone standing up for SOME level of small government value.

      1. But the status quo is not small government, which is my point. Presuming the Trump agenda is for smaller government, Paul’s problem has been that it’s not as radically anarchic as he wants. Thus instead of dismantling half of Obamacare, we get all of Obamacare and Paul gets to pat himself on the back for feeling the right feelings.

        1. “Presuming the Trump agenda is for smaller government . . .”

          That’s one hell of an assumption

          1. It’s just a wrong assumption. The only places that Trump deregulates are a function of his cronyism (see the EPA for example). Regulatory capture is not a libertarian side effect … It is one of the top reasons libertarians oppose regulatory overreach in the first place. It’s long way past the time when anyone who is intellectually honest can believe Republican claims of caring about the size or scope of govt, whether you are a liberal, conservative or independent.

    2. I think you need context. a loaf of what is the element you’re skipping over.

      no loaf of shit is better than half of one.

      1. Bread. I’m talking about bread.

        1. and circuses?

  9. My cousin, who is in the military, actually gave me the “nowhere to cut!” speech when she was in town recently. Essentially it was “you can’t stop making planes and bombs because ISIS is obligating us to play World Cop and if you end those defense contracts you will put millions of people out of work.”

    Sooner or later, the idea that the government is a jobs program and owes people a living has to die. Either it’s a preemptive mercy killing, or it dies in agony because it hits a wall when we run out of other people’s money.

    1. It’s a very old problem. The fact is Defense is the biggest employer in the world, and there would be a lot of people in need of work if it were pared back to some manner of a sane size. A sober, nonideological government could simply shift the resources to advanced technology for non-military purposes, infrastructure, and any number of things that would serve humanity far more than another big expensive toy that goes pew pew.

      Unfortunately the small-government scolds can’t compete with flag-waving BS and so we get the worst of both worlds, a bloated military apparatus and underfunded everything else.

      1. So close.

        A smaller, saner government would get out of the way and let the economy bloom instead of trying to leech as much as it can off the host without killing it completely.

        1. The government is merely a customer in the market. Well, not merely, as it makes the rules, but that’s what governments do.

          1. How would a mere customer shift resources?

            1. Are you asking how demand affects supply?

              1. Customers dont get to imprison their vendors, print currency or manipulate interest rates. Your reply here is really stunningly bad. I will stick up for you against the protrump fascists here, but I won’t defend economic illiteracy.

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