With tongue in cheek, Rand Paul offers 'clean' debt-limit amendment

Paul, who is among the the Senate’s most ardent fiscal conservatives, is offering the amendment in hopes of demonstrating a lack of support for a clean increase without further spending cuts. His amendment, however, provoked a feisty reaction from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) who is the sponsor of the underlying legislation, the Economic Development Revitalization. 

"Games are being played on the floor of the Senate, I guess just for fun," protested Boxer. "You can tell from the tone and tenor of Senator Paul that he finds it amusing that he is offering a debt ceiling increase that he is voting against.”

Paul's proposed increase in the debt ceiling to $16.7 trillion is similar to a House bill that failed in a 318-97 vote in late May. That bill was also designed to demonstrate to Senate Democrats and the White House that the debt ceiling can only be raised as part of a plan to reduce overall spending.

Paul's amendment is one of several that Republicans introduced to what Senate Democrats are calling a major jobs bill, although it is not clear whether any of them will be considered. The bill, S. 782, would increase funding for the Public Works and Economic Development Administration (EDA) to $500 million, from the nearly $300 million it received in fiscal 2011.

The tension between Boxer and Paul was evident on the floor. Twice during Boxer's speech Paul asked to interject and was denied.

“I will not yield at this time but I will yield when I have concluded,” Boxer curtly informed Paul.