Rand Paul blocking spending vote, says can't 'look the other way'

Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that he told President Donald Trump the bipartisan spending agreement will sa...

Posted: Feb. 9, 2018 7:56 AM
Updated: Feb. 9, 2018 7:56 AM

Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that he told President Donald Trump the bipartisan spending agreement will saddle the nation with too much debt.

"It spends too much money, borrows too much money," the Kentuckian told Fox News of the spending agreement awaiting a vote in the Senate.

He added, "Actually, we're going to bring back Obama-era deficits. I was elected to combat Obama-era deficits."

The Senate was set to consider the spending agreement announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, but an attempt by Paul to include his own amendment appeared to hold up a vote as of Thursday afternoon.

Republican leaders said Paul wants a vote on an amendment critical of the overall agreement, but they cannot give him the vote even if they wanted to do so because it requires consent from all senators.

In the interview, Paul blasted the "rotten deal" and his congressional colleagues for trying to put in place the broad new spending plan.

He said without McConnell granting him a vote on the bill, his options were limited.

"I will make them listen to me," Paul said.

Paul said he told Trump as much and let the President know if he could get McConnell to allow a vote, then they would move forward.

"I told him to call up the majority leader, Senator McConnell, and tell him I wanted 15 minutes to have a vote to make a point that conservatives are unhappy with this deal," Paul said, adding later, "Give me 15 minutes to debate, 15 minutes to vote, and we could have been done by noon."

Trump has backed the deal, tweeting that the increased military spending "is so important."

Paul said bringing the nearly two-decade-long military presence in Afghanistan to an end would better serve the military than continuing to fund multiple, ongoing combat operations around the globe.

"I could give a raise to every soldier out there if we just come home from Afghanistan," Paul said. "It's time to come home. There is no military victory there."

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, among the most prominent hawks in Congress, mocked Paul on Twitter for the call to withdraw from Afghanistan, saying that would not be a good idea.

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