Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., harshly criticized House Republican leaders in a Charleston, S.C. speech Monday night for supporting a bill that offers a temporary debt ceiling increase.
The bill, scheduled for a vote Wednesday, would suspend the $16.4 trillion debt limit until May 19.
“I saw the speaker on TV handing the newly sworn-in president a flag. I am afraid it was the white flag of surrender,” Paul said, a GOP source present at the meeting told Politico
. Paul offered a quip about the House GOP’s retreat last week: “They came out of their retreat and retreated.”
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The senator delivered his talk at the Charleston Meeting, a gathering of conservative leaders. It may be no accident that Paul, a potential presidential candidate, chose the first southern state that holds a primary as the place for his remarks.
Paul is taking a strong stand on budget issues. He voted against the fiscal cliff bill earlier this month that almost all of his Republican colleagues supported. In the speech, Paul urged his fellow GOP senators not to make concessions in return for Democrats shepherding a budget through the chamber.
As for the debt ceiling bill, Rep. Tom Cole, R., Okla., a member of the House GOP squad that surveys House members before big votes, told The Wall Street Journal that the team hasn’t conducted a poll yet but that the bill appears to have wide support. Backers include current and former leaders of the conservative Republican Study Committee, he said.
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