Senate rejects Paul's balanced budget plan
© Greg Nash

The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly rejected Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why Fauci to Chelsea Clinton: The 'phenomenal amount of hostility' I face is 'astounding' GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message MORE's (R-Ky.) plan to balance the budget by making steep cuts in spending.

Senators voted 21-76 on taking up Paul's legislation, known as the "penny plan."


The legislation would have balanced the budget in five years and cut spending by roughly $13 trillion over 10 years compared to current spending levels.

Paul used an arcane Senate rule that allowed him to force a vote on his plan because leadership has not introduced a budget.

Paul argued on Thursday that Congress had made an "unholy alliance" in which Republicans agreed to more domestic spending in order to get a boost in military funding.

"That runs into the hypocrisy we face today. I've often said that the Republican Party is an empty vessel unless we imbue it with value," he added.

But Paul faced fire from both sides.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOn The Money: Yellen, Powell brush off inflation fears | Fed keeps rates steady, upgrades growth projections Democrats shift tone on unemployment benefits Bipartisan infrastructure group grows to 20 senators MORE (R-S.C.) urged senators to vote against the measure because of its impact on defense spending.

"If you're a defense hawk, you should be against this approach, because it creates the one thing we can't afford, which is unpredictability," he said.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate panel unanimously advances key Biden cyber nominees Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' MORE (D-N.Y.), meanwhile, argued that Paul's comments were ironic given the GOP tax plan.

"Our side at least rankles when we hear these budgets that relate to deficit spending when on the tax side that doesn't seem to apply at all. I say that with due respect to my good friend, who I know is sincere in his beliefs. And he will argue with me that cutting taxes increases the economy," he added.