- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Senate on Thursday soundly rejected Sen. Rand Paul’s attempt to cut $43 billion out of the 2018 budget plan, after he had said lawmakers were simply using a technicality to get around spending caps and plus up defense funding.

Mr. Paul’s amendment failed on a 5-95 vote, with GOP Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Jeff Flake of Arizona, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Mike Lee of Utah voting with Mr. Paul.

“We have a $20 trillion debt — it’s about whether we’re serious about tackling that debt,” Mr. Paul said, saying leaders plan to “hide” the additional money in a special war fund to get around the spending caps.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi said the 2018 budget spending levels comply with the caps and that the $77 billion in additional money for the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund is in line with what President Trump has requested.

“Members of the budget committee worked hard to craft a budget resolution with levels that would put us on a better fiscal path,” said Mr. Enzi, Wyoming Republican.

Republicans, who control 52 seats in the Senate, are expected to have enough support to pass the broader budget on Thursday, but Mr. Paul’s objection to the military spending levels has put his vote in doubt.

The vote proved tricky for some senators and presented another mini-battle between the deficit and defense hawks within the GOP.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas briefly delayed the final resolution of the vote as he pondered his support, ultimately voting against the spending cuts.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide