Rand Paul: Ryan's 10-Year-Budget Plan Fudges Numbers

Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 03:10 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Sen. Rand Paul says he won't vote for Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan that passed with a divided vote in the House earlier this week, as it includes "a little bit of fudging on the numbers" to reach a balanced budget within the next decade.

"He repeals Obamacare but still assumes Obamacare taxes, and I'm not sure that's honest accounting," the Kentucky Republican told the New Hampshire Union Leader Friday, a day before he spoke to the Freedom Summit in Manchester, where the newspaper is based. "He also still assumes some cost-shifting in Medicare that was part of Obamacare."

Paul is one of several key Republicans at the summit, which has attracted numerous potential GOP candidates to speak.

The Kentucky lawmaker also criticized the two-year budget deal reached by Paul, R-Wis., and Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, late last year.

"It was a coalition in the wrong direction," Paul told The Union Leader.

He said he doesn't expect Ryan's current 10-year budget plan to come up for a Senate vote, because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will likely block it with his "iron fist." But even if it did come up, "I'll probably vote no, simply because I think we need to do better."

Ryan's plan narrowly passed the House Thursday, despite that chamber's Republican majority. All the Democrats in the House voted against it, as was expected, but 12 Republicans also rejected the measure. 

Paul told the Union Leader that he "might be a problem for the Republicans" if they take of the Democratic-controlled Senate in the 2014 midterm elections when it comes to similar budget plans.

"There's going to be more than me," he said. "There'll be two or three of us at least, maybe five of us, who may not vote for 10- or 20-year balances."

Instead, Paul said, Congress needs to pass five-year plans, even if it takes doing "some drastic things" like eliminating the departments of Commerce, Education and Energy to cut costs.

Paul said he also favors a "penny plan" to cut federal spending by one-percent across the board.

While Paul has not announced his candidacy for the presidency, he said that "the same old cookie-cutter, Chamber of Commerce Republican may not be what we need to win anymore."

Instead, said Paul, "maybe conservatives need a little bit of a libertarian twist or maybe the Republican party needs a little bit of a libertarian twist to help them have access to new constituencies."

It was a theme he repeated Saturday when he spoke at the Freedom Summit, saying he GOP cannot be "the party of fat cats, rich guys and Wall Street."

In the Union Leader interview, Paul said deciding whether to run will take a great deal of discussion with his wife and three children, ages 15, 18, and 21, and said it is "premature" to announce a decision before this year's midterm elections are over.

But he does know that there is one candidate he will have to run against, and that's his father. Already, new "Ron Paul for President" bumper stickers are starting to show up, and his son joked "I hope I don't have to compete with that guy."

But he did not directly answer questions about how his political views differ from those of his father, a frequent presidential candidate who appealed to younger voters and chastised Republican opponents.

He does understand his father's appeal with the younger voters, though, as "young people see through hypocrisy ... my dad exemplified and portrayed genuineness — almost to a fault. He didn't beat around the bush and he told you, whether it was politic or not, ... what he thought."

Also during the interview, Paul told the newspaper that he agrees with the Supreme Court's campaign finance ruling that strikes down limits on individual campaign contributions in federal elections. However, he said he is not a "big fan" of public financing that favors wealthy candidates and incumbents, and he favors limits on lobbying and contributions for those who contract with the government.

Paul said he agrees with the recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign financing, which struck down total limits on how much individuals can contribute to candidates in federal elections.

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