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Rand Paul Proposes $78.5B Increase For Our Threadbare Defense Budget

Paul’s amendment brings him in line with his likely presidential primary rivals.
Rand Paul Proposes $78.5B Increase For Our Threadbare Defense Budget
Image from: Gage Skidmore

It's a classic move, to flip-flop on a major issue to increase your electability. In campaign world, your willingness to listen to your consultants is the barometer of your desire to win, and on that basis alone, Rand Paul certainly seems to want to win. (Which really doesn't make sense in an insurgent candidacy, because things like cutting the defense budget are allegedly his reasons for running.) Guess Rand Paul is just another ambitious politician making deals with the defense lobby, after all. TIME Magazine:

Just weeks before announcing his 2016 presidential bid, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is completing an about-face on a longstanding pledge to curb the growth in defense spending.

In an olive branch to defense hawks hell-bent on curtailing his White House ambitions, the libertarian Senator introduced a budget amendment late Wednesday calling for a nearly $190 billion infusion to the defense budget over the next two years—a roughly 16 percent increase.

Paul’s amendment brings him in line with his likely presidential primary rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who introduced a measure calling for nearly the same level of increases just days ago. The amendment was first noticed by TIME and later confirmed by Paul’s office.

The move completes a stunning reversal for Paul, who in May 2011, after just five months in office, released his own budget that would have eliminated four agencies—Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Education—while slashing the Pentagon, a sacred cow for many Republicans. Under Paul’s original proposal, defense spending would have dropped from $553 billion in the 2011 fiscal year to $542 billion in 2016. War funding would have plummeted from $159 billion to zero. He called it the “draw-down and restructuring of the Department of Defense.”

But under Paul’s new plan, the Pentagon will see its budget authority swell by $76.5 billion to $696,776,000,000 in fiscal year 2016.


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