Sen. Paul: Nation to Get "Big, Ugly" Debt Bag for Christmas
In what might loosely be described as the "spirit of the season," the Congress of the United States will likely put together a huge grab bag "with a lot of stuff in it," including tax- and debt-ceiling increases, and drop it down the nation's chimney before adjourning for its Christmas recess, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) predicted Monday.
"I think there will be something really big, some enormous, ugly bill with a lot of stuff in it, including raising the debt ceiling by a couple trillion dollars. They'll squish it into one bill. And sometime before Christmas, they'll pass it," Paul said in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Monday night. But they'll pass it over his opposition, said Paul, a favorite of Tea Party activists and a potential contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
"I made a pledge to the people of Kentucky that I'm not raising taxes," said Paul, an ophthalmologist who became Kentucky's junior senator by winning an open seat in 2010 in his first political campaign. "I took a pledge. I signed a statement, an oath that I wouldn't raise taxes, and I'm going adhere to it," he said in apparent reference to the anti-tax pledge promoted by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Some key Republicans who took that pledge have indicated on the Sunday talk shows and other venues a willingness to consider tax increases, along with spending cuts, in an effort to avoid the much-discussed "fiscal cliff" of across-the-board spending cuts mandated by the budget agreement of 2011, and the tax increases that will occur without another extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, due to expire on January 1. Norquist responding on CNN's Starting Point, dismissed talk of flexibility by anti-tax Republicans as "discussions of impure thoughts on national television." Paul made it clear he was entertaining no such thoughts.
"I'm all for reforming the tax code, but it would have to be at the very best revenue-neutral. I don't want to raise revenue through the taxes," he said. "The only way I'd raise revenue through taxes is get the economy to grow. You don't have to raise rates or even close loopholes. The reason we have a lack of revenue in Washington is too much spending and no economic growth," he told Van Susteren. "If the economy were growing at 4 percent right now, we'd have plenty of revenue." Raising taxes is not the way to promote economic growth, he said. "That's what they want to do now, and I think it's absolutely the wrong thing to do."
Paul, the son of two-time Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul, appears ready to continue his father's decades-long campaign to reduce spending and taxes and oppose programs and actions of the federal government for which there is no constitutional grant of federal power or authority. The elder Paul, a 12-term congressman from Texas and the 1988 presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, is retiring at the end of this year, having chosen not to run for another term in the U.S. House, where he has served, off and on, for more than 24 years over the course of nearly four decades. In the farewell address he delivered on the House floor on November 14, the 77-year-old retired obstetrician warned of both a political and moral crisis brought on by "the exponential growth of illegal government power."