Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Official portrait of United States Senator Rand Paul

This article appeared online at on Friday, October 20, 2017:

Senator Rand Paul’s vote against the GOP-backed budget resolution, which maintains the big- status quo, indicates that the senator is willing to go against his party’s leadership, even if it means he is the only senator doing so.

President Trump tweeted early Friday morning, in celebration of the previous day’s Senate vote to pass the GOP’s budget resolution:

The Budget passed late last night, 51 to 49. We got ZERO Democrat votes with only Rand Paul (he will vote for Tax Cuts) voting against…..


….This now allows for the passage of large scale Tax Cuts (and Reform), which will be the biggest in the history of our country!

But why would Senator Paul cast the lone vote against the budget resolution? And in doing so, why would he vote with the Democrats, who also opposed the bill? Of course, he did so for very different reasons than the big- Democrats. Put simply, he wants to spend less, not more. As he explained in a statement following the vote:

The American people are sick and tired of Congress recklessly with no end in sight. We can’t spend our way to prosperity. Today, the Senate considered a budget that simply didn’t measure up and spent too much. I will fight for the biggest, boldest tax cut we can pass, but I could not in good conscience vote for a budget that ignores spending caps that have been the of the land for years and simply pretend it didn’t matter. We can be for lower taxes AND spending restraint.

Regarding tax cuts specifically, Paul tweeted Friday morning:

I’m all in for tax cuts @realDonaldTrump. The biggest, boldest cuts possible – and soon!

But he was not “all in” when he saw the initial version of the GOP tax reform plan, because it was not a “tax cut for all,” even though it was presented as such. In an opinion piece published October 4 at Breitbart, entitled “Cut Taxes for All,” Paul wrote:

Unfortunately, though presented as a tax cut for all, the first draft of the GOP tax reform plan wasn’t about how much to cut from everyone; rather, it was who are the winners, and who are the losers.


The plan lowered the top rate, which is great. It lowered corporate taxes, which is necessary for job growth. It lowered taxes on the lowest income people, as well. I’m good with all of that.


However, somewhere in the authors’ efforts to cut taxes for our highest and lowest earners, the middle class was seemingly left to bear the burden. The problem is, after lowering those rates, they decided the rest of the plan should be “revenue neutral.”


If you’ve already cut taxes for the rich and lower incomes, how do you make up the difference to account for those cuts? By raising taxes on those who are left — the middle class.

In the same article, Paul also expressed a willingness to compromise for the purpose of getting tax cuts, even if this means supporting legislation that falls short of how just how much he’d like to cut:

I’ll take the biggest tax cut we can pass, but I’m also certainly willing to compromise. I realize not everyone in my caucus wants a big, bold cut like I do. If all we are talking about is how much to cut taxes, I can assure you, they will have my vote, happily.

Yet that wasn’t all the GOP was “talking about” in its initial draft of the tax-reform plan. But it is, apparently, what Senator Paul is expecting the final draft to be “talking about.”

Paul’s vote against the GOP-backed budget resolution, which maintains the big- status quo, indicates that the senator is willing to go against his party’s leadership, even if it means he is the only Republican senator doing so. The party leadership should take notice. If the final version of the GOP-backed tax-cut plan does not cut taxes for everyone including the middle class, and if this plan is instead designed to be “revenue neutral,” the GOP leadership may discover to its dismay that Senator Paul is no longer “all in.”

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