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Rand Paul calls for punishment if Congress can't reach a long-term budget deal

Rand Paul calls for punishment if Congress can't reach a long-term budget deal
© Greg Nash

No spending deal? No recess.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (R-Ky.) said Tuesday he likes the idea of canceling scheduled recesses as a punishment if Congress can’t reach a long-term deal to fund the government.

Alice Rivlin, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, posed the idea at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing Tuesday afternoon on the impact of government shutdowns.

Rivlin was expressing support for Paul’s proposal to cut federal spending by 1 percent across the board every 90 days until Congress enacts a budget, when she made the additional suggestion, saying “it sounded gimmicky” when she first heard about it, but it could work.

“I like the no recess idea, and I think actually might work,” Paul said. “You’d be surprised how often people want to either go home or go somewhere else besides Washington and that might help.”

The hearing came while Congress is trying to reach another short-term spending deal before funding runs out Thursday

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Paul introduced the Government Shutdown Prevention Act of 2018 last month to incentivize Congress to properly consider and debate spending legislation.

The bill calls for the federal agencies, programs and activities to continue working with 1 percent less than their previously enacted budgets if they aren’t funded by the start of the fiscal year, Oct. 1.  

“What I’ve proposed is a punishment, a hammer,” he said.

“Basically spending goes down by 1 percent and we both know both sides don’t want spending to go down. They are all for more spending, so maybe they would say ‘Oh my goodness, all the special interests who want this money are going to be knocking on our door and yelling and screaming’ so then they’ll do it on time,” he said.