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Rand Paul to Fight Linking Harvey Relief Funding and Debt Ceiling with ‘America First’ Amendment

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On Wednesday, the House will be passing a clean funding bill for Harvey relief and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning to add an increase in the debt ceiling to the bill. A source has confirmed to Big League Politics that Senator Rand Paul will be fighting the effort.

Paul will be doing two things to throw a wrench in McConnell and Paul Ryan’s plans to marry the issues.

First, Paul plans to push for an ‘America First’ amendment which would cover the $7.85 billion Harvey relief funding through foreign aid cuts. In theory, the debt ceiling will still need to be raised soon, but not in conjunction with the FEMA relief funds if the money is offset with budget cuts.

“It’s a mistake to raise the debt ceiling without having some dramatic reform to our budget process,” Paul told Politico on Tuesday. “A $20 trillion debt is really our no. 1 security risk so to just keep raising the debt I think is a huge mistake.”

The senator added that “if you are simply adding to the debt to give people money I think it’s not really appropriate,” explaining that the costs should be offset from elsewhere.

Second, the Kentucky senator will be fighting for the debt ceiling and the Harvey bill to be split so that senate will have to vote on and debate the issues separately.

With FEMA saying that they will be out of funds by Friday, pressure is on for a funding bill to be passed quickly. By attaching the two issues, senators will be forced to either pass funding with the changes to the debt ceiling or be responsible for not providing aid money to the devastated areas in time.

Obviously, the disaster relief funding on its own has overwhelming bipartisan support and would easily pass, but Paul Ryan and McConnell appear to be determined to complicate things by adding the politically charged debt ceiling legislation to an otherwise easy vote.

Multiple members of the Freedom Caucus have also made it clear that they will be forced into not backing the package if it doesn’t include meaningful fiscal reforms.

Congress

Arizona’s Paul Gosar Proposes Amending Coronavirus Package to Replace Pork with $10,000 Stimulus Checks

Gosar wants direct aid to the American people.

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Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona has proposed that the federal government pay stimulus checks of $10,000 to Americans beleaguered by the coronavirus pandemic, adopting an approach that would prioritize direct payments to individuals over payments to state and local governments. Gosar’s Amendment, offered on Friday night, would also replace payments to extend federal unemployment benefits.

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As the American Rescue Plan currently stands, $1,400 stimulus checks to American taxpayers who filed less than $75,000 in income in 2018 make up $422 billion- a mere 22% of the total spending in the relief package. Gosar’s proposal would replace much of the questionable spending with direct relief.

If the federal government intends to go ‘all-in’ on deficit spending in response to the coronavirus recession, Gosar’s proposal would ensure that the money is spent directly on the livelihood of American taxpayers. Less than half of the spending of Biden’s stimulus is directly targeted towards taxpayers, with education, energy, transport and state governments receiving almost as much money as the American people under Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan.

(Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget)

Biden’s pork proposal can easily be retooled to prioritize direct spending to Americans, be it in the shape of stimulus checks or buffed unemployment benefits to Americans who have lost their jobs in the recession. Instead, the establishment Democrat has opted to prioritize payments to powerful lobby groups and corporate institutions.

The American Rescue Plan passed the House in a Friday night vote. Should the massive spending package fail to pass the Senate in budget reconciliation, congressional leaders may be left with no choice but to consider proposals such as Gosar that replace federal spending with direct relief to the American people.


Follow me on Gab @WildmanAZ, Twitter @Wildman_AZ, and on Parler @Moorhead.

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