Yesterday, the Senate voted on a pair of budgets that would balance by 2017. The first one offered by Rand Paul would have cut $11.1 trillion in spending from the baseline. Specifically, it would have eliminated 4 entire departments, enacted premium support Medicare, raised the retirement age of Social Security, block granted Medicaid and welfare programs, and enacted a 17% flat tax.
Mike Lee’s budget cut roughly the same, but put more of an emphasis on entitlement reform than discretionary cuts. It was modeled after the Heritage Foundation’s plan “Saving the American Dream.” It would scrap the entire tax system, including the payroll tax, and institute a unified flat income-based tax on consumption for both businesses and individuals.
The point of these budgets was not that every Republican should agree with the precise policy solutions to every issue. Rather it was an attempt by the part of two stalwarts to show a viable path to limiting government, weaning dependency, and balancing the budget in a timely fashion. Sadly, they only received 17 and 17 votes respectively.
I am finding the same problem when researching candidates running for Congress. Every single Republican candidates professes support for a balanced budget. Yet, when pressed for specific cuts, many of them equivocate. This is not an enigma. There are only a few ways to balance the budget within a reasonable time frame. Lee and Paul presented us with two scenarios. The fact that the majority of the Republicans Conference opposed those budgets shows that they are not serious about supporting a balanced budget. Then again, we knew that already.
Here are the the roll calls:
As you can see, most of the yay votes overlap for both budgets, with a few notable exceptions. I find it interesting that Mitch McConnell voted for Rand Paul’s budget. It quite evident that he fears the embarrassment of a primary challenge and doesn’t want people in Kentucky saying that he voted against Rand Paul’s budget. He certainly doesn’t support any of the provisions in the budget, and his actions as leader have proven that.
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