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Senator Rand Paul To Vote In Order To Cut Total Federal Spending By 5%

Conservative Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he will force the Senate to vote this week on cutting total federal spending by 5 percent in each of the next two years, a proposal that could put popular programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act under scrutiny.

Paul told reporters Tuesday that he would insist on a vote on his amendment in exchange for yielding back time on the Senate floor and giving leaders a chance to pass the debt-limit bill before the nation faces default next week.

Paul’s proposal, which he is calling a “conservative alternative” to the deal negotiated by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), poses an uncomfortable vote for Senate Republicans, one which it divides their conference.

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.

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 through the PACT Act, which Congress passed last year.

“He was referring to on-budget spending, which excludes Social Security. His Penny Plan has never touched Social Security and it’s not allowed under the budget rules,” said Kelsey Cooper, referring to a past budget resolution sponsored by Paul to cut spending. “His Penny Plan has also never specified cuts to Medicare or any other program — it only gives topline numbers.”

“The committees would have to determine where the cuts would be. So there still would be for room for people to disagree and debate over exactly where they want the cuts but there would be an absolute topline number for the entire budget that over the next two years would be on the way to balance in five years,” he explained.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and other health care programs account for nearly 50 percent of all spending. As a result, it is very difficult to balance the budget without touching such programs.

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