Sen. Paul Calls for Senate Democrats to Pass a Budget Without Procedural Tricks
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Rand Paul this afternoon took to the Senate floor to prevent Senate Democrats from using back-door procedures to increase the debt ceiling or raise taxes. Earlier last week, Sens. Paul, Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) stated their intention to object to the budget reconciliation process until Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) would agree to not use procedural tricks to raise the debt ceiling. Below is the video and transcript of Sen. Paul's floor speech.
SENATOR PAUL: Reserving the right to object, it's now been 59 days that the opposition is trying to orchestrate a back-room deal to raise the debt ceiling. Raising the debt ceiling is an incredibly important debate, shouldn't be done in a back room by a few people, shouldn't be done through parliamentary trickery or chicanery. It should be done full out in the open under the rules of the Senate.
We are now borrowing $40,000 a second. We are borrowing $4 billion a day. We must borrow from China to run the ordinary functions of our government. In fact, it's worse. We borrow from China to send money to China. We borrow from China to send money to Pakistan. We build bridges in Pakistan with money borrowed from China.
It can't go on. No American family can continue to spend money endlessly that they don't have. All we're asking for is a common-sense resolution that says we can't keep borrowing. So what we're asking is, and what I ask is unanimous consent, that the Senator modify her request so that it not be in order for the Senate to consider a conference report that includes reconciliation instructions to raise the debt limit. And I ask that as a unanimous consent order.
SENATOR MCCAIN: Madam President, I reserve the right to object to the modification and I will object in just a moment. And I would point out to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that for four years, four years, we complained about the fact that the Majority Leader, who I see here on the floor, would refuse to bring a budget to the floor of the United States Senate.
Then in what most of us believe was a proud moment - I thought it was a pretty tiring experience at my age of voting all night - we approved or disapproved of 70 meaningless amendments but the fact is we did a budget and all of us patted each other on the back and we were so proud we did the budget and by golly, now we'll move with the House of Representatives and we will have a budget hopefully at least begin negotiations with the House of Representatives, which is a majority of Republicans, not Democrats, Republicans.
So we decided we are going to do that. But now we are going to, according to the objection that was just, uh, the unanimous consent that was just asked for in an unprecedented way put restrictions on the conferees. Now the way that we usually do it, which is what I'm about to do is that is we instruct the conferees.
We don't require the conferees because that's why we appoint conferees and that's why we approve or disapprove the result of that conference. That's how our laws are made. And that's how our budgets are made. So what do we keep doing? What are we on my side of the aisle keep doing? We don't want a budget unless - unless we put requirements on the conferees that are absolutely out of line and unprecedented.
So all I say to my colleagues is, can't we after all those hours - I forgot what hour in the morning it was -- after all those votes, after all that debate, after all that discussion and we came up with a budget and now we won't go to conference. Why is that?
So I'll object to the modification that the Senator from Kentucky just asked for in a moment, but I would first ask consent that the original request by the Senator from Washington include two motions to instruct the conferees, one related to the debt limit and one related to taxes.
That's the way we should do business in the United States Senate, is instructions to the conferees. Now, the Senator from Washington may not like those instructions, but the fact is that those are the way we do business. Not require the conferees to take certain measures.
And so if my colleagues on this side of the aisle think that we are helping our cause as fiscal conservatives by blocking going to a conference on the budget, which every family in America has to be on, because of certain requirements that they demand, then we are not helping ourselves with the American people at all.
So I will object to the modification proposed by the Senator from Kentucky. I would first ask consent that the original request by the Senator from Washington include two motions to instruct the conferees, one related to the debt limit and one related to taxes.
SENATOR PAUL: Reserving the right to object, we're talking about two different issues here. We've passed budgets year in, year out, we continue to pass budgets. Of course, the budgets on our side don't raise taxes, the budgets on the other side raise taxes by a trillion dollars. There are parliamentary rules for how we address separate issues such as the debt ceiling.
What we're concerned about and all we're asking the opposition to do - including opposition within both parties to do - is that the debt ceiling vote be a separate vote and that it not be stuck in in the dead of night in a conference committee with very few people selected by very few people.
We have a big party on our side that can include people with many different opinions, some who are very concerned about the debt ceiling and the direction of our country, some who are concerned very much about the debt, so much so that our resilience will not flag. We will maintain the position that throwing our country into further debt is wrong for the country.
I think most Americans can understand that. We're $16 trillion in debt. We're passing this debt on to our children. It's inexcusable. Somebody must make a stand and several of us are making a stand, not against a budget but saying we cannot keep raising the debt ceiling.
We cannot keep adding debt to our country. This burden is going to be passed on to our kids and grandkids. We're making a stand here and so I object to the modification.