Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) argued that “Congress has become a shell of itself” and gets along too much, in addition to wondering whether debt is more disruptive than uncertainty over the debt ceiling in a speech on the Senate floor against the budget deal early Friday morning.
Rand said, “we’ve become a rubber stamp, and we give everybody what they want. The right gets their money for guns, the left for butter. Guns and butter is bankrupting the country. What we really need are fiscal conservatives. You can be liberal and be fiscal conservative. You can be conservative and be fiscal conservative, but the problem we have now is that there are people on the right who are actually liberal with military spending. I don’t think that you can be a fiscal conservative if you’re for unlimited spending for the military.”
He later added, “Congress has become a shell of itself. Congress has become so minuscule as to be almost insignificant. This is with regard to almost all policy. The executive branch writes the regulations, the executive branch fights the wars, and we do nothing. We’ve been at war again, really have been at war almost constantly for the last 20 years, but we have been at war again, in Syria, and now in Iraq, for over a year, and yet Congress has not weighed in. Congress has not voted to give the president any authority. … But you also have Hillary Clinton, who’s still involved, with wanting us to be back involved with Syria, calling for a no-fly zone. Before we get involved, shouldn’t we have a debate in Congress?”
Rand continued, “many in the media point out and they say the problem is incivility and not getting along. I guess I would argue the opposite, that we get along too much. That really — that compromise actually comes too easy, and then when you look at whether or not there’s enough discussion of whether or not the debt is harming us, there’s actually too much agreement on both sides, and lack of concern really for the debt. So, you have both sides coming together with this bill, to basically say that we’re going to give the president an unlimited amount, unspecified and unlimited amount of borrowing power.”
Later in the speech he stated, “others will argue, they will say, we need to be the adults in the room and we need to govern. We need to govern seamlessly with no hiccups. But I would say there are two potential problems here. You could argue that, well, by letting us get close to the brink on debt ceiling, or getting close to running out of money, that that’s disruptive, and sends a bad signal to the marketplace, and you get to argue in the short run that maybe that’s disruptive, but you could also argue that it’s incredibly disruptive to the country to keep borrowing money at a million dollars a minute. So I think you have to weigh which is worse. Is it worse to keep borrowing money at a million dollars a minute, or is it worse to actually have a little bit of uncertainty about the debt ceiling?”
Rand added, “With regard to the debt ceiling, though, if you look at the debt ceiling and say, ‘Would we ever default?’ We bring in, in tax revenue about $250 billion a month. Our interest payments lately have been averaging about 30 billion. There’s actually no risk of defaulting at all, and we should do the opposite. Instead of scaring the marketplace and saying that there is any chance of default, we should say we have no intention of defaulting. We should say that we won’t default. In fact, we have legislation, I’ve actually introduced legislation that would — and it’s called [the] Default Protection Act. It says that we won’t default. It says the first thing that we will spend out of our revenue would be our interest. It also says that out of our revenue, we would pay for Social Security, we’d fully fund it. We would pay for Medicare and fully fund it. We would pay for our soldiers’ salaries. We would pay for Veterans’ Affairs.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett