Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a fellow likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, is a “moderate.”
“I think the party is big enough to have moderates in the party,” Paul in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News. Paul was discussing the appearance of inevitability created by the establishment media around Bush’s announcement he is actively exploring a potential presidential candidacy.
“When we have a primary, voters will have to pick whether they want a moderate leading the party or a conservative,” Paul says. “That’s what the primary will be about, people presenting their ideas and they’ll have to decide whether they want Common Core, whether they want more spending, more taxes, whether they want a candidate who will not pledge to not raise taxes. There’s a lot of things that will go on, we have plenty of time for that, but I would say that time will tell.”
Calling a Republican who’s seeking the GOP nomination a “moderate” is a clear insult in Republican presidential primary politics. During that selection process, each of the candidates is likely to focus on highlighting conservative credentials to please GOP base voters. Paul further hinted Bush would be open to tax increases and more government spending, positions no candidate is likely to take while trying to win the nomination.
It’s not the first time Paul has zeroed in on Common Core as being a killer issue for Republican presidential candidates.
“I don’t see Common Core being–if you’re for Common Core and you’re for a national curriculum, I don’t see it being a winning message in a Republican primary,” Paul told Breitbart News last October in an interview backstage at an event where he endorsed Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) for reelection. “If there’s a Republican candidate out there–let’s just say there’s a hypothetical one that’s for Common Core. I’m saying that that hypothetical candidate that’s for Common Core probably doesn’t have much chance of winning in a Republican primary.”
In Wednesday’s interview, Paul also criticized New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—another potential 2016 GOP candidate—over restrictions on New Jersey citizens’ gun rights.
“I just think it’ll be difficult for anybody to win the nomination who’s not a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, and I don’t have all the details yet about what’s going on up there but I would just make the statement that anybody who is not a staunch defender of the Second Amendment—or for that matter, a staunch defender of all the Bill of Rights—I think will have a tough time winning the nomination,” Paul said when asked about the news that Christie is pushing new gun control measures in his state.
The interview with Breitbart News focused mostly on Paul’s thoughts about the newly seated GOP-led Congress. Paul said he wants Republicans to use the power of the purse in a meaningful way, including but not limited to blocking funds for President Obama’s executive amnesty in the forthcoming Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill—which was split out by the previous Congress from the larger so-called “cromnibus” spending bill.
“I start with really what’s the big problem?” Paul said when asked what Republicans’ mandate is moving forward.
The big problem is the accumulation of $18 trillion worth of debt and with the way we run government we just accumulate more debt. The biggest problem to be is the debt and we’ve got to do something about it. I think the way they run government around here by sticking everything into a Continuing Resolution, cromnibus or an omnibus or whatever name they give these monstrosities is that we never get better. So if you do a spending bill and you have no amendments on it, and you call it an omnibus or whatever, there are no instructions as to how the people who spend the money should do a better job. So I will continue to vote against all these big enormous bills because we have to give instructions on how we’re going to save money or start spending less money. So what we need to do is pass all twelve appropriations bills and I’m for writing in hundreds if not thousands of instructions to the president on how the money should be spent. I don’t think that’s extraordinary—I think that’s what our job should be. So I’m going to be advocating for using the power of the purse, and the way you use the power of the purse is to write specific instructions in every appropriations bill on how we want the money to be spent.
Paul, when asked specifically about the plans by some, including House Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), to include language blocking funding for Obama’s executive amnesty in the forthcoming DHS bill, said he won’t vote for any bill that doesn’t do that.
“I won’t vote for a spending bill that doesn’t have instructions and/or numbers that lessen the spending burden, the debt burden,” Paul said. “So the numbers are important, how much we’re spending, but also the instructions. But I wouldn’t stop with just immigration. Every ounce of spending, every program, everything you go through.”
Paul cited some specific wasteful research programs from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to argue that Republicans should put specific instructions to Obama so he can’t spend taxpayer dollars on “crap” like that.
For example, when we looked to see about where’s the money for spending on Ebola and infectious diseases—we discovered that the NIH spent nearly a million dollars determining whether or not male fruit flies like younger female fruit flies. We should write instructions saying that that kind of crap can’t happen. If we aren’t wasting money on frivolous research, then we’re either going to have more money for the taxpayer or more money for the actual research that ought to be done on infectious diseases. So that would be one item where in that bill I would write instructions as to how we should not waste money on some of our research dollars. We should do it on everything, though—it’s not just immigration. I wouldn’t send him a bill where he’s told what to do on just immigration, I’d send him a thousand different instructions or two thousand different instructions on how the money should be spent. That’s what our job is supposed to be—our job is to instruct him on how the money should be spent.
Paul is also readying a bill that would cut off the taxpayer cash to the Palestinian Authority for as long as it is aligned with Hamas.
We give a little bit over $400 million of American taxpayer money to the Palestinian Authority. Recently, the Palestinian Authority has joined with Hamas in a unity government. I’m opposed to that and I said last year we shouldn’t send them any money as long as they’re part of the unity government but now that unity government is trying to join the International Criminal Court and through that they’re accusing Israeli soldiers of war crimes for defending themselves against attacks from Hamas. So I’ve said as long as those on the West Bank are pursuing this, we should cut their money. So I have a bill that says as long as they’re seeking admission to the ICC, as long as they’re pushing these complaints that I think are frivolous complaints, then they shouldn’t get any taxpayer money.
And in addition to all that, Paul is pushing to bring jobs and money home from overseas by reducing the financial burden for companies seeking to operate in America rather than outsource.
“The number one thing I’m pushing for is trying to bring American profit home,” Paul said. “There’s about $2 trillion overseas and I’m pushing hard to get a bill that would reduce the taxes on bringing that money home. Hopefully, with that encouragement, that will bring billions of dollars home but hopefully also hundreds of thousands of jobs with it.”