Senator Rand Paul made waves earlier this year when he introduced a package of spending cuts that would have removed $500 billion from the current budget. Now, and somewhat disappointingly, he’s revamped the plan and reduced the amount of cuts by several hundred billion dollars:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has ratcheted down his proposal to cut $500 billion from the federal budget for fiscal year 2011.
Paul on Tuesday introduced an amendment on the Senate floor to cut $200 billion over the next six-and-a-half months.
Paul said a House-passed proposal to cut $61 billion from the budget “doesn’t touch the problem.”
“Sixty one billion dollars in cuts sounds like a lot of money. But you know what? We’re increasing spending by $700 billion. And now we’re going to nibble away at $61 billion,” he said on the Senate floor.
Paul is right, of course, but it’s also the case that $200 billion is less than the $500 billion that he proposed only a month ago. Paul says that he is doing this in an effort to see if he can get more support for a reduced package of spending cuts, but in all honesty this plan has no more chance and of passing the Senate than his original plan did so it seems like a wasted effort in that regard. Additionally, while it is admittedly all purely symbolic, it is nonetheless a retreat in a battle against Federal spending that the GOP is barely fighting at this point. Paul is one of the few Members of Congress fighting the good fight, so it’s unfortunate that he would surrender like this.
That said, there is plenty of good in the new, revised, plan:
Paul’s latest proposal would reduce most federal discretionary spending to fiscal-year 2008 levels and reduce funding for the Departments of Energy, Education, Housing and Urban Development by 50 percent.
His amendment would cut military spending by 5 percent or 30 billion but not reduce funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, it’s a start. Sadly, it’s going nowhere. Instead we’re likely to see the GOP give up ground even on its infinitessimal $60 billion in cuts, with the promise that they’ll be serious about cutting when they get around to dealing with the Fiscal Year 2012 Budget.
Don’t count on it.