Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said that he likely would vote against any plan put on the Senate floor to avert the fiscal cliff — but he expects the agreement to pass the chamber with bipartisan support.
“I’m a likely ‘no,’ because there’s a lot of new spending in it,” the first-term Republican told CNN. “There’s going to be tax increases, which I think are bad for the economy. There’s also going to be increases in spending.
“We have a spending problem up here, and instead of trying to restrain spending, they took entitlements off the table — and they’ve actually added new spending,” Paul added. “There’ll be new spending in this bill, which I think is the wrong direction to take the country in.”
Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also of Kentucky, were in negotiations late Monday on a deal to stop more than $600 billion in tax increases and drastic spending cuts from taking effect on Jan. 2.
Their goal is to have a spending plan to put to a Senate floor vote by midnight. The House of Representatives adjourned until noon on Tuesday.
Paul said his major problem with any cliff agreement is its lack of substantive spending cuts.
“They’re heaping on new spending, so not only are they raising taxes — maybe on a small percentage of people, but a large amount of money — but they’re also going to spend more money,” he said. “It’s a spending bill. It has stimulus spending in there. It’s going to give a five-year stimulus spending to some of the president’s plans from 2009, so I object to increasing spending and increasing taxes. That’s really the deal-killer for me.”
Despite his probable negative vote, Paul said an agreement will be passed by the Senate.
“It will pass with bipartisan support in the Senate,” he told CNN. “The House is a little more unpredictable, but once Democrats sign on in the House, it should pass as well — but it’s going to require Democrats and Republicans, probably in both bodies, in order to pass.
“I personally just don’t like it, because I think we’re kicking the can down the road and we really aren’t addressing the real crisis in our country, which, really, is not a fiscal cliff that everyone is talking about, but really is a debt crisis,” Paul added. “This deal will do nothing to help reduce the deficit.”
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