A balanced budget plan put forward by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. failed in the Senate by a vote of 22-69 Monday evening after only 22 Republicans voted in favor of the national debt-addressing measure.
(For reference, Republicans are the ones who tend to campaign on fiscal responsibility and there are currently 53 of them in the Senate.)
“We teach our children that money doesn’t grow on trees, and then they grow up watching politicians pretend otherwise,” Paul tweeted about the plan on Monday. “Meanwhile, our debt soars past $22 trillion, endangers our country. Today, the U.S. Senate can vote to put a stop to it and change course.”
“If we keep piling on the debt we’re going to come to a day of reckoning. We have a great country and we shouldn’t let it get away from us,” Paul added in a later tweet just before the vote.
Introduced in April, the “Pennies Plan,” would have required the government to cut two pennies of every dollar in on-budget federal spending — or just two percent — for the next five years. Overall, Paul’s office estimated that the plan would have spent $11.3 trillion fewer than current baseline levels over the next decade. It also contained instructions for the Senate Finance Committee to make the 2017 tax cuts permanent and created a “reserve fund” to allow for the expansion of Health Savings Accounts.
“A balanced federal budget isn’t a pie-in-the-sky dream or empty rhetoric,” Paul said in a statement accompanying the budget plan’s introduction in April. “Once again, I am introducing a concrete plan that is achievable and allows Congress maximum flexibility to prioritize spending.”
Fiscally conservative activist groups also supported Paul’s plan. FreedomWorks put out a statement in support of the bill before the vote on Monday, while Club for Growth similarly voiced their support.
“The National Debt exceeds $22 trillion and the federal government is incurring over $1 trillion in annual deficits,” Club for Growth Vice President of Government Affairs Scott Parkinson said in a statement. “Congress needs to operate its budget like American families operate their budget. That means cutting up the credit card and ending excessive annual deficits that balloon the national debt.”