Saturday, March 28, 2015

What's up with Paul's defense budget amendment?

Breaking: "The Gist" of Rand Paul's Controversial Defense Budget Amendment 940 - Hit & Run : - Nick Gillespie

March 26, 2015 - "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) [has] submitted a budget amendment calling for increased defense spending in fiscal years 2016 and 2017. As Time originally reported, the amendment called for increasing spending by a total of about $190 billion over those two years, or a 16 percent increase over current totals....

"In the proposed amendment, Sen. Paul provides an increase in defense spending with offsets from the following accounts:
  •  $21 billion from Foreign Assistance accounts (budget 150 function) 
  •  $14 billion from the National Science Foundation and Climate Change research
  • $10 billion total from the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Commerce ... 
  • $20 billion from Department of Education  
  • $41 billion in discretionary spending from the Department of Housing and Urban Development 
"These reductions would occur in both FY2016 and FY2017....

"Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has proposed an amendment to increase spending by about the same amount as Paul's, but Rubio's plan specifies no offsets in spending, says Bloomberg Politics' Erik Wasson. Like Paul, Rubio is a presumptive candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. According to various reports, declared candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has signed on to Rubio's plan and voted for its passage.

"So in this narrow sense, one can see meaningful difference between Paul and his fellow Senate colleagues: He is willing to pay for increases in defense spending by stipulating cuts elsewhere. And it's worth pointing out that his insistence on trimming foreign aid by $21 billion has already raised the ire of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

"Yes, it's great news that Paul is serious about debt and deficit in a way that escapes Cruz and Rubio — and virtually all Republicans, especially when it comes to Pentagon spending.

"But there remains a serious question about reducing the size, scope, and spending of government.... Now more than ever, the country needs a strong and unambiguous voice to argue that $600 billion is far more than enough to secure the safety and security of U.S. citizens and interests. If anything, we seriously need to be talking about cutting down the drag that debt-financed military spending puts on the economy and, more important, the awful outcomes the past dozen years of U.S. foreign policy has visited not just upon our armed forces but people around the globe....

"It's to Rand Paul's immense credit that he, alone among even his Tea Party compatriots who were sent to the Senate to reduce federal spending, wants to pay for any and all increases in defense spending.

"It will be better still, for the country and the wide, wide world, if Paul once again channels his earlier self and calls for a reduction in overall spending, including the reckless piling up of arms and men that have not advanced national security in any observable way."

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