Sen. Rand Paul said he will force a vote this week that would cut all federal spending by 5% over the next two years, with Social Security being exempt. It was originally reported that Social Security could be included in the cuts.
But Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act could be included.
Calling his proposal a “conservative alternative” to the debt ceiling deal crafted by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Paul seems to want to put individual Republicans on record about if they are really serious about seeking cuts.
Paul’s proposal is an amendment to the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) just passed by the House. Under Paul’s amendment, the FRA’s raising of the debt ceiling would instead be replaced with a lesser $500 billion increase.
The senator claimed these changes would lead to a balanced budget by 2028.
“Bold actions must be taken to defeat our mounting national debt, and my conservative alternative to the Biden-McCarthy deal gives us a real opportunity to get our fiscal house in order,” said Paul in a press release.
The Hill noted how difficult this vote might be for senators. “A ‘no’ vote opens GOP senators to criticism from conservatives who say that policymakers who exempt mandatory spending programs from reform are not serious about balancing the budget,” the news outlet observed. “A ‘yes’ vote risks alienating seniors who are worried about seeing their Medicare benefits cut or veterans who now receive more federal aid through mandatory spending via the PACT Act, which Congress passed last year.”
Only Social Security and the U.S. Postal Service would be exempt from Paul’s plan, with the latter being categorized as “off budget” by a Paul aide according to The Hill.
Nearly 50% of all federal spending is allocated for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and other health care programs.