Sen. Rand Paul says caving in to tax increases in any debt reduction deal would ruin what Republicans stand for and turn the party into what he called "Obama-lite or Democrat-lite."
If that happens, he says, Republicans will have to share the blame if an agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff turns out to be a drag on economic growth and job creation.
"It all depends on what happens. If Republicans all decide to vote for raising the taxes half as much as [President Barack] Obama wants, and we still have a tax increase and Republicans are for it, it kind of ruins what we stand for, because what we stand for is limited government and less taxation," the Kentucky Republican told Fox News' Neil Cavuto Tuesday evening.
"I think if we go halfway or we split the difference with him, I think then both parties have their hands on it. When we go into recession, it will be confusing," he continued. "But I want to be the party of lower taxes and of limited government.
"And I think if we go halfway or become President Obama-lite or Democrat-lite, I don't think that is what I want to stand for. It's not why I ran for office."
Paul, a leader in the tea party movement, said if he thought raising taxes was good for the country he would go along with, but he believes "it will be the opposite."
"I want to stimulate the economy. The only way I know to stimulate the economy is to leave more money in the economy," he said.
"I have seen the way these guys spend the money up here [in Washington] and they are not responsible with your money," Paul told Cavuto. "They have not earned my trust. I don`t think they deserve to have any more of my money."
He said Republicans should stick to their principle of no more tax increases and pass a bill "tomorrow in the House of Representatives" that keeps the Bush-era tax rates "as they are right now "for everybody permanently."
Then, he said, Republicans should move bills reforming the Social Security and Medicare programs and make cuts in other spending areas.
"Then when the Democrats won't accept it, then let's vote present and let them raise the taxes in the House of Representatives," Paul added. "It comes to the Senate, the Republican senators vote . . . no and it becomes like Obamacare, a Democrat juggernaut. They get what they want, but it will be bad for the economy and their fingerprints will be on it, but ours won't."
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