Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss wasteful government spending and its impact on the American taxpayers, calling the event “Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Ways of Funding Government.”
Paul, who is the chairman of the Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management Subcommittee for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), discussed his Government Shutdown Prevention Act (S. 2339), a bill he introduced in January encouraging Congress to properly consider and debate new legislation involving spending.
Paul said an omnibus spending bill is “only slightly less bad” than a continuing resolution. The senator argued that his bill would prevent government shutdowns in the future, adding a one-percent cut to funding levels for any agency, program, or activity that Congress neglected to fund by the start of the fiscal year on October 1.
For every additional 90 days after the first cut, funding would be reduced again by another one percent until an agreement can be reached on spending.
“How can Congress do proper oversight of spending when we throw everything into one giant trillion-dollar bill?” Paul asked. “Congress is supposed to take a close look at 12 appropriations bills funding specific areas of government and debate and amend them.”
Paul said that the shutdowns ultimately harm the American taxpayers, only funding the government short-term through Continuing Resolutions and giant spending bills. He also notes that Congress’ frequent ignoring of regular appropriations process restricts the proper oversight of government spending needed to eliminate wasteful spending by federal agencies.
“I don’t want to shut down the government, but I’m not sure I want to keep it open unless we reform it.” Paul said.
Democratic Senator Gary Peters (Mich.) agrees.
“We have failed time and time again to live up to our own standards,” Peters, who spoke at the hearing with Paul, said of Congressional deficit spending.
Paul also said he likes the idea of a cancelled recess as punishment as a “hammer” if Congress fails to do its job.
“I like the no recess idea and I think actually might work,” Paul said. “You’d be surprised how often people want to either go home or go somewhere else besides Washington and that might help.”
“Basically spending goes down by 1 percent and we both know both sides don’t want spending to go down. They are all for more spending,” Paul said. “Maybe they would say ‘Oh my goodness all the special interests who want this money are going to be knocking on our door and yelling and screaming’ so then they’ll do it on time.”