Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Wednesday he will force a vote on his bill to balance the budget.
The fiscal conservative, who has consistently called for federal spending cuts, announced his intention to force a vote during a press conference on Wednesday.
In balancing the budget within five years, Paul says significant cuts will be made to Washington’s “out-of-control spending” by “reforming the reconciliation and budget processes.”
Paul is the chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
While Congress does not appear to have any plans to craft a budget for 2019, if leadership of the budget committees does not introduce a budget, a senator can. Paul said an arcane Senate rule will force a vote because neither party has introduced a budget.
“From a conservative point of view, we’re letting our people down,” he said. “We could do some more healthcare reform on this if we would actually pass a budget because then we could use reconciliation–which is the only way we are ever going to get anything done.”
Paul said under his budget reconciliation, instructions would be used to expand health savings accounts via the market place.
He also noted that he believes the “vast majority” of Americans would support cutting one penny per dollar on all federal programs, so long as the cuts were made evenly.
The senator said the budget will include mandatory spending and discretionary spending, excluding Social Security, because Congress is not allowed to vote on the program.
“If you’re for tax cuts you ought to vote for commensurate spending cuts,” he said. “Every Republican voted for the tax cut, and we’ll see how many of them will vote to actually have spending cuts.”
Paul said he wishes Democrats would all “vote Present, and let the Republicans decide what happens on this” to easily determine which Republicans would vote against a balanced budget.
Paul also noted that President Trump has asked him to meet with secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo.
Paul has opposed Pompeo’s nomination to the position because he does not believe the latter shares President Trump’s campaign foreign policy plans to end foreign wars.
In order for Paul to vote yes, Paul said he would have to see significant changes in Pompeo’s foreign policy positions, including believing that the Iraq War “was a mistake” and that “we’ve been in Afghanistan for way too long.”
“Out of respect for the president I will meet with him,” Paul said.