OPINION | Sen. Rand Paul: Pay for the emergency funds with cuts from elsewhere
This week, Congress will vote on providing needed emergency money for Hurricane Harvey, which impacted so many people across Texas. I sympathize with everyone impacted, including many members of my own family (my parents and siblings live outside Houston).
I absolutely want to make sure their needs are met, and that we take care of people. But I also know that we are $20 trillion in debt and climbing, with no sign of letting up.
So, I have proposed a simple, “America First,” fiscally responsible solution: we should pay for the emergency funds with cuts from elsewhere, specifically money we send overseas to foreign countries.
One of the things I and many other Americans liked about candidate Donald Trump was his America First policy. He talked often about building here instead of in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We send tens of billions overseas every year in aid, and we have spent trillions fighting and nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Instead of continuing that, let’s take a portion of that money and spend it here to help the victims of this great disaster.
Harvey isn’t the only emergency. Hurricane Irma has now hit the U.S. and looks like it might hit Florida this weekend, even stronger than Harvey. Others could still come. We must plan ahead, and we must pay for our needs.
That’s why I’ve offered an amendment to the emergency funding that offsets every dime of the proposed $15.25 billion through cuts to aid overseas that hasn’t yet been spent.
This is how things should work. We should decide what our needs are, plan for them, and pay for them.
I urge my colleagues to join in this. I have my doubts, though, since included with the emergency bill that will come to the floor this week is a provision to raise our debt ceiling.
They say we are out of money to pay for hurricane relief. So instead of finding that money somewhere else in the budget, they simply want to raise the limit on our credit card.
This has to stop. We spend too much. We owe too much. We cannot keep spending money we do not have.
House and Senate leaders have now combined into one bill the hurricane relief we all know we need, along with a debt ceiling bill we can’t afford, and a three-month spending bill with no spending cuts or reforms.
It’s a lousy deal. We have been in charge of the House, Senate, and White House all year long, and we have no fiscal reforms or restraint to show for it.
This is a good time to show the American people we heard them. It’s a good time for President Trump to embrace in practice his “America First” agenda in paying for rebuilding here by cutting what we spend over there.
This is common sense, and it is what every American family has to do every day – make choices and set priorities. I hope my colleagues will join me in adding just a bit of fiscal sanity to the deal this week.
Paul is the junior senator from Kentucky.
The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.