Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked an attempt by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Wednesday to fast-track a bill that would extend compensation for victims of the September 11th attacks.
Paul expressed concerns that Gillibrand’s attempt to pass the measure using unanimous consent — meaning a bill is approved so long as no senator objects — did not take into consideration the need to offset that funding elsewhere.
In short, he argued, funding shouldn’t be distributed to 9/11 first responders without a discussion about where the money was coming from — concerns that didn’t stop him from voting for President Donald Trump’s massive tax cuts for the rich back in 2017.
“It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in this country,” Paul said in voicing his objection on Wednesday. “Any new spending that we are approaching — any new program that’s going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years — should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to at the very least have this debate.”
He promised to add an amendment when the House version of the bill was brought up for a vote. But Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) also placed a procedural hold on the bill, blocking it from coming up for a vote.
Gillibrand noted in response that, not only had the bill passed the House by “over 400 votes,” it already had 73 co-sponsors in the Senate.
The measure was guaranteed to pass, she said, adding, “Enough of the political games.”
BREAKING: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has blocked an attempt to pass an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, pointing to the country's growing debt and arguing that any new spending should be offset by cuts to other spending. (via @thehill) https://t.co/VGGoALb9qV pic.twitter.com/xQGCcZupjg
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) July 17, 2019
Back in 2017, Paul supported Trump’s tax bill, which cut taxes drastically for the ultra-wealthy and mega-corporations.
At the time, Paul did voice some reservations, such as his preference for an even bigger tax cut, but eventually agreed to the final version, which has since massively exploded the deficit.
Those tax cuts have had an even bigger impact than analysts expected initially: The deficit ballooned from $225 billion in 2017 to $319 billion in 2018.
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) openly admitted after the tax cuts passed that having less money in government coffers would provide Republican leadership with leeway to slash social programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.