Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blasted Republicans as “emasculated” for claiming to be fiscally conservative while playing along with Democrats on another budget that he said will only rack up more debt.
“We have completely and totally abdicated the power of the purse,” he said in an interview on Fox Business. “Republicans are emasculated. They have no power, and they are unwilling to gain that power back.”
Congress is currently hammering out a budget to fund the government through the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. It’s expected to arrive in the form of an omnibus bill – a vast collection of funding measures presented for a single vote in each chamber of Congress.
In the interview, Rand told Fox Business host Larry Kudlow that Republicans could have more power to achieve their goals by pulling that omnibus into separate pieces.
“We’d have to do the budget the way it’s supposed to be: … 12 appropriation bills, and then try to attach some policy, like removing the 87,000 IRS agents from the IRS budget,” he said. “When we try to do it in one bill, the Republicans don’t have the intestinal fortitude. They always collapse. And they fear shutting the government down, so no policy objectives ever get added.”
Paul also said Republicans aren’t doing all they can to address the national debt. While Republicans often make the national debt a campaign issue, chronic overspending by both political parties over decades has seen the national debt balloon to around $31.4 trillion. Last month, the U.S. government spent $249 million more than it earned in tax revenue.
Paul said the Senate GOP could use the filibuster to force a compromise on the debt. The filibuster system allows voting on a bill to be blocked unless 60 senators can agree to override it.
“Forty-one votes would stop the big spending,” Paul said. “If 41 of us said no and held our ground until there was a compromise, we could force Democrats to reduce spending.”