Senate Rejects Rand Paul Amendment Aimed at Cutting Spending

October 29, 2019 Updated: October 29, 2019

The Senate voted down a proposed amendment by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would have reduced spending by the federal government.

Paul’s effort was voted down 24-67 on Oct. 28.

S. Amdt. 2019 was attached to the spending bill; it called for reducing the amounts appropriated for a range of 2 percent.

The bill was boosted by the Club for Growth, which said: “The National Debt exceeds $22 trillion and the federal government is incurring over $1 trillion in annual deficits for FY2020 and beyond. Congress needs a plan to balance the federal budget and reign in spending. This amendment would begin to put federal spending on a path to balance by cutting two percent in spending for FY2020 from the FY2019 enacted level.”

But Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said on the Senate floor before the vote that his colleagues should reject the bill.

“His amendment will slash spending below the bipartisan budget act that we all negotiated,” Leahy said, reported The Hill.

No Democrat voted for the bill, which earned support from a number of prominent Republicans, including Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt.) in Washington in a file photograph. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Twenty-five Republicans voted no, along with the bulk of the 47 Democrats in the Senate. Among those voting no were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.).

Four 2020 candidates—Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—missed the vote, along with five other Senators.

Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican, has repeatedly tried to introduce amendments to cut down on government spending, but has been unsuccessful.

McConnell presented a cloture motion on SA 948, the spending bill, on Monday, clearing the way for a vote by the end of the week.

McConnell said he wants a vote on a bill for defense funding also by the end of the week.

“Our commanders need funding. Our men and women in military need support. Congress needs to do its job. So later this week, the Senate is going to vote again to advance defense funding,” McConnell said on Monday, reported The Hill.

Democrats are seeking to block the bill after voting to block McConnell from advancing a defense spending bill earlier this year.

Paul, meanwhile, introduced another measure last week in an effort to cut costs.

The Bonuses for Cost-Cutters Act was cosponsored by seven Senators, including Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

Federal law lets an agency’s Inspector General pay bonuses of up to $10,000 of savings realized when a federal employee identifies waste, fraud, or mismanagement of funds. Paul’s legislation would add two categories: identifying surplus or unneeded funds.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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