Republican Senator Rand Paul openly criticized the proposed defense budget last week, saying that it is irresponsible to ask for more money without showing how it would be paid.
Rand Paul’s criticism of the defense budget increase proposed by Senator Marco Rubio cements the Kentucky Senator’s image as the top fiscal hawk amid 2016 presidential campaigners in the country.
Senator Paul was the only Republican, together with Ted Cruz, to vote against the proposed Republican budget.
Speaking in front of the Senate, Paul said:
“It is irresponsible and dangerous to continue to put America further into debt, even for something we need. We need national defense, but we should pay for it.” (Washington Times)
According to the vice president and director of Governance Studies at Brookings Institution, Darrell West, the vote was a good indication of Paul’s tactics for getting the GOP nomination – He’s focusing on his “fiscal hawk” image.
“He wants voters to think he has the most integrity because you can’t balance the budget and increase military spending without reductions in other areas.” (Washington Times)
Or put in other terms:
Matt Welch, editor in chief of Reason, a libertarian magazine, said that Mr. Paul is going to do everything he can to be the “biggest hard-ass on spending, period.” (Washington Times)
On the other hand, usually one to advocate a lesser defense budget, Paul proposed a $76.5 billion increase, according to Time. Does this mean he has strayed from his libertarian roots?
As the 2016 GOP nominations come close, Paul probably figures that his base will not be enough to win the race. So, he is trying to appeal to the mainstream Republican voters. According to a CNN opinion poll, 70% Republicans think themselves as hawks rather than doves.
However, if you dig deeper into last week’s Time article on Paul’s proposed increase:
“The boost would be offset by a two-year combined $212 billion cut to funding for aid to foreign governments, climate change research and crippling reductions in to the budgets of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce and Education.”
As Nick Gillespie of Reason points out:
“So in this narrow sense, one can see a meaningful difference between Paul and his fellow Senate colleagues: He is willing to pay for increases in defense spending by stipulating cuts elsewhere. “
(Photo courtesy of frankieleon, CC BY 2.0)
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