President Barack Obama will soon lay out his vision for federal spending when he releases his annual budget, setting in motion months of debate over the size and scope of government.Rand Paul is doing the same thing.The tea party hero is at the bottom of the Senate in seniority and was sworn in as Kentucky’s junior Republican senator only two weeks ago, but he’s about to unveil his own sweeping budget plan that would result in a $500 billion cut in just one year — about five times more than what the House GOP has promised to do.It’s an unusual move — a rookie senator releasing his own version of the federal budget — but it says a lot about how Paul is trying to carve an unconventional identity in the stodgy Senate. As he tries to navigate Senate politics, Paul faces a key question: Will he use his national profile to paint himself as a conservative firebrand and perennial outsider, or will he work within the system and with senators across the ideological spectrum to settle for less ambitious deals?So far, he’s showing signs he’ll do a little of both.Paul’s version of the federal budget — which he’ll unveil as early as next week — would target programs at virtually every federal agency, including the Defense Department, and would eliminate the Education Department. He plans to follow up with a five-year budget with even deeper spending cuts, a move likely to prompt backlash from groups that would be affected by his proposal.Like other Republicans, Paul is pushing a constitutional amendment to force Congress to balance its books, calling for a two-thirds-majority vote to increase taxes. And he plans to float bills that would kill certain federal regulations. Breaking from most lawmakers, he also wants to force a debate over instituting a limit of two terms for senators. And he’ll propose establishing a waiting period before lawmakers cast major votes and forcing them to read legislation.“These are not without ambition,” Paul told POLITICO in an interview.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
From Manu Raju of Politico on Jan. 18: