Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and other conservative Republicans are criticizing the spending cut announced by the House GOP on Thursday.
"It's really not going to touch the problem," Paul said on Friday in an interview with ABC News.
Paul was commenting on the proposal announced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that would cut spending through the end of the fiscal year by $32 billion.
"There's a disconnect between Republicans who want a balanced budget but aren't maybe yet brave enough to talk about the cuts to come," Paul said.
The freshman senator and Tea Party favorite has proposed cutting spending in the current fiscal year by $500 billion.
The Ryan proposal had been rolled out by the GOP as cutting $74 billion from the budget, but that figure is based on President Obama's proposed budget, and not spending that had actually been authorized by Congress.
At issue is the "Pledge to America" that House Republicans unveiled at the tail end of the 2010 campaign, which set a target of $100 billion in cuts this year. GOP leaders have said that they're most focused on rolling back spending to 2008 levels — another aspect of the Pledge — though that might mean less cutting than expected, since half the fiscal year's budget has been exhausted.
That argument hasn't halted Democratic criticism, though, or quelled complaints from within the GOP.
"Anything short of our pledge to cut $100 billion from FY11 will be getting off on the wrong foot,” Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), another conservative spending foe, said of Ryan's proposal. “We can’t ignore the fact that our budget deficit is clocking in at $1.5 trillion and our debt at more than $14 trillion. We’re going to have to do much better and cut much more.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders have made clear, though, that they view Ryan's plan as a starting point for the debate over spending. There's "no limit" to how much the House could cut, Boehner said last weekend.
If conservative dissatisfaction with Ryan's proposal grows, some lawmakers might take advantage of the "open" process Boehner has promised on the spending bill to pursue deeper cuts. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has promised a vote on a proposal by the Republican Study Committee to slash discretionary spending by $2.5 trillion over the next decade, for instance.