On Newsmakers, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said he will hold up the Senate’s business next week to force a debate on the debt limit. The Senate canceled its Fourth of July break to ensure discussions on raising the debt ceiling continues, but most of the discussions are happening behind the scenes.
Senator Paul said on Newsmakers that he “will filibuster until we talk about the debt ceiling.” He said the full Senate, instead of a small group of Senators, needs to engage in debate. He also said he and a group of conservative members would support raising the debt ceiling on one condition: “We will vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling if we can, but it will be contingent on passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. “
Senator Paul has been a leading proponent of adding an amendment to the Constitution mandating a balanced budget, like many states. But some Senator Paul’s proposals go beyond a balanced budget requirement and include spending caps and significant spending cuts.
Senator Paul said he is not opposed to all tax increases. He pointed to the Senate vote on removing ethanol subsidies, but said broader reform with lower overall tax brackets are necessary. “We’re more than willing to look at the tax code,” he said.
Senator Paul said he supports means-testing for entitlement benefits, which would determine the level of Social Security and Medicare benefits received based on a recipients income. “I think this would please the Democrats,” he said. The Democratic Party has not endorsed means-testing, which would reduce benefits for some.
Senator Paul, founder of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, said on Newsmakers that President Obama is showing “disdain” for the Constitution and is “manipulating” facts.
He praised the lawmakers associated with the Tea Party. “We’re controlling the debate,” he said. “We’re still losing most of the legislative battles, but we’re shaping the debate. “