Before Thursday’s Republican debate Senator Rand Paul held a campaign rally at Iowa’s Drake University in which the senator addressed the need to balance fiscal responsibility with strengthening the military.
Paul also targeted two of his main presidential rivals—Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
“Recently Cruz and Rubio put forth an amendment to increase military spending,” Paul said. “It would have added $200 billion dollars to the national debt.”
“When I countered with an amendment to offset the new military spending with cuts in domestic spending, they refused to support the cuts,” the senator added.
In March, Paul introduced a budget amendment that allowed for defense spending to be increased, but only if those increases could be offset by spending cuts elsewhere.
“The Senate refused to advance it, voting 4-96, with Cruz and Rubio both opposing it.”
Why did Cruz and Rubio oppose Paul’s amendment?
National Review’s Veronique DeRugy observed after the vote in March:
Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, though, who presumably want more defense spending and care about the debt, voted against the amendment. May I ask why? Do they have an objection to offsetting defense spending increases, or do the have an objection to these particular cuts? If it’s the latter, where are the spending cuts of their own?
Both men will likely end up running for president, and if elected, they would have to take real, tough steps to put the country on a sound fiscal path. Are they not willing to do that even now?
Paul says amendment was to demonstrate how even Republicans often perceived as being fiscal conservatives, like Cruz and Rubio, will still vote for new spending without explaining where those new dollars will come.
Which increases our debt.
As Paul senior advisor Doug Stafford explained last year, “His amendment is to lay down a marker that if you believe we need more funding for national defense, you should show how you would pay for it.”
“We can’t just keep borrowing more money from China to send to Pakistan,” Stafford added. “And we can’t keep paying for even vital things like national defense on a credit card.”
Paul will join Cruz, Rubio and the other Republican presidential candidates (except Donald Trump) tonight in a debate hosted by Fox News at 9PM ET.