Every year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) rolls out a radical budget plan that no one bothers to take seriously, and every year it falls far short. Yesterday was no exception, and the proceedings on the Senate floor didn’t generate a lot of attention.
There was, however, one thing that stood out for me about the vote. Roll Call reported:
The Senate blocked consideration Monday of a bill by Sen. Rand Paul that would require trillions of dollars in spending cuts over the coming decade to bring about a balanced budget.
On a procedural vote of 22-69, the Senate refused to advance a budget plan that the Kentucky Republican said would reverse a trajectory of ever-rising deficits in coming years. […]
[T]he plan, which is similar to ones he has offered in previous years, triggered bipartisan opposition because of the severity of spending cuts required to reach a balanced budget within five years, as the bill promises. Democrats oppose cuts to many domestic programs, while Republicans want to increase military spending.
As budget plans go, the Kentucky Republican’s blueprint is plainly silly. Paul wants to eliminate a massive budget deficit in five years – for reasons unknown – without raising any taxes on anyone by any amount. He’d like to reach his goal through ridiculous cuts to practically every aspect of federal operations.
Roll Call’s article added that in the next fiscal year alone, the GOP senator’s plan “would require $183.1 billion in spending cuts.” That kind of austerity would obviously hurt millions of families and severely undermine the domestic economy.
Which, naturally, is why the plan didn’t come close to passing.
But looking over the official roll call, it’s worth emphasizing just how many Republicans ended up voting for this thing.
We’re not just talking about some weird budget plan that received a vote or two; we’re talking about a weird budget plan that received 22 votes. That’s roughly 42% of the entire Senate Republican conference.
What’s more, of the 22, several are up for re-election next year, including Texas’ John Cornyn, Montana’s Steve Daines, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis.
I realize, of course, that budget policy tends not to dominate election coverage. But if any of these Senate incumbents are prepared to defend their vote for a brutal and unnecessary budget plan, I’m eager to hear it.